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Landmarks of Wayne County, New York online

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ber, 1870. He was a staunch temperance advocate, a Republican and
spiritualist, and had five children.

Andrew and William Cornwall came to Pultneyville from Connecti-
cut about 1809. William soon afterward died, and in 1810 Andrew-
married Eliza B. Martin, which was the first marriage in town, the
ceremony being performed by an Irish missionary. Mr. Cornwall en-
gaged in cabinet making, served as magistrate eighteen years, and died
in 1854. His sons were Andrew T , jr., Evelyn, and Dr. William.

Other early settlers of the town were Joel Howe, Jeremiah Cady,
James Calhoun in 1808, Hugh Clark on lot 23, Enoch Tuttle on lot Gl,
Amos White, Col. John Cottrellin 1810, Isaac Fish in 1811, Justin Eddy
in 1809, Alexander White in 1811, Daniel Poppino (father of Samuel
wS.), and Merritt Adams in 1808. At Pultneyville were Abraham Pep-
per, Thomas Thatcher (a blacksmith), Elisha Wood (a mason), Richard
Sweet (a tanner), Richard White, Robert Armstrong, John De Krumft


(a cabinet maker), Perkins and Jacob Dana (coach and sleigh makers),
Simeon S. Strong, A. J. Deming, M. A. Blakeley, William Ingalls,
Oliver Cobb, Charles Gilbert and Samuel Gilbert.

The first birth of a white person in the town was that of Capt. H.
11. Throop at Pultneyville, November in, ISO?. The first female child
born in Williamson was his sister Julia, born in 1809. The first deaths
were those of a son (aged three) and daughter (aged one) of Samuel
Throop, who, with their parents and Robert Armstrong and Jeremiah
Selby, were capsized from a boat on the lake; all escaped except the

Alpheus Curtis, a Revolutionary soldier, settled in town at an early
day and died here; a son survives him. His old house stood on the
site of the present residence of Joseph Britton. Benjamin Thompkin-
son, a native of England, came here with his parents and located east
of Pultneyville. He became a licensed exhorter and subsequently an
ordained local preacher of the M. E. church.

Myron Holley Bennett was born here in 1820 and died in 1887. At-
kinson Sayles was born in England in 1811, Williamson in 1831,
and died in July, L890. Remington Kinyon, born in Hartford, N. V.,
in 1803, moved here early in life and died October 31, 1891. Augustus
Beach was born in Canada in L818, removed to Marion when eighteen,
and finally came to AVilliamson, where he died in 1892. Isaac E.
Shipley, a life long resident of Pultneyville, died in June, L892. George
W. Miller, a wagonmaker and a member of the M. E. church, died
here in March, 1888, after a residence of fifty-six years. Deacon Ros-
well Harkness, a native of Marion, died here the same year. M. Aaron
Thorp, another old settler, died in May, 1889. J. D. Pearsall was long
an active business man in Williamson village and prominently con-
nected with the work of surveying the Lake Shore Railroad through
the town, being appointed one of tin- railroad commissioners. He built
the warehouse and elevator near the depot, and died in L890.

John Pallister and his sons, A. A. and M. \\, at Pultneyville, be-
came prominently identified with that village. The father died here
in December, L889, aged nearly eighty-one. The death of his daughter,
Mrs. Evelyn Cornwall, occurred March 31, L891.

Norman Meaker came to Williamson on the canal soon after 1825,

followed farming and droving, and died here in July, L881. He was

of the first to engage in shipping produce from Wayne county to

New York, and at an advanced aged was a soldier in the war of the

Rebellion two ami a half years.


Dr. Josiah Bennett, the second physician in town, came in L815, and
Spent his life here. Wesson Pratt, who died June 30, L894, aged nearly
ninety-two, was then the oldest man in town. His son, Alanson, re-
sides on the homestead. Samuel Gilbert, a native of Connecticut, came
to the Genesee country on his wedding- trip. At Canandaigua he got
stranded, but borrowing five dollars of Major William Rogers (who had
removed there from Williamson), he came to this town and with the
money purchased five acres of land on contract, which he soon sold and
bought 100 acres farther back in the woods. Two of his sons live in
the Russell neighborhood in Marion.

Prominent among other settlers were William Tuttle, born in 1799,
died here in February, 1886; Lorenzo Fish, for twenty-four years post-
master at Pultneyville, died January 23, 1885; John J. Morley. a ship-
builder, son of Hon. Horace Morley, born in Pultneyville in Novem-
ber, 1823, died in Rochester in August, 1885; Hon. William H. Rogers,
supervisor and assemblyman, who removed to New Jersey in 1887
after residing here fifty-one years; and John Reynolds, who was born
in 1803, came to Pultneyville in 1829, engaged in business as a mer-
chant, became an active operator of the "underground railroad," was
postmaster under Tyler's administration, and died October 15, 1882.
John P. Bennett, son of Dr. Josiah Bennett, is the town's most prom-
inent resident. He has been supervisor continuously since 1879, was
county sheriff from 1861 to 1867, and assemblyman in 1890.

Hon. Samuel C. Cuyler was the most distinguished citizen this town
ever had. Born in Aurora, N. Y., in 1808, the son of a lawyer, he was
educated in Cayuga Academy and settled in Pultneyville in 1830. His
mother was a. sister of Samuel F. Ledyard, of that village. Mr. Cuyler
early became an ardent temperance advocate and a strong abolitionist,
and ever afterward lived the life of a true reformer. He was originally
a Whig and in 1840 joined the Liberty party. In 1848 he became a
Free Soiler and in 1855 was elected to the State Senate on the Repub-
lican ticket. For seven years he was collector of customs at Pultney-
ville. When the anti-slavery struggle opened he espoused the cause
of emancipation and throughout the country his house became famous
as a depot of the "underground railroad." From it boat load after
boat load of slaves were sent to Canada, many of them by Capt. H. N.
Throop's steamer. Mr. Cuyler was a born orator and during his two
years' service in the Legislature, made a number of effective speeches
in favor of equal suffrage. He died February 13, 1872, and was buried


in Lake View Cemetery at Pultneyville. His son, Ledyard S. Cuyler,
survives him and is now clerk of Wayne county. Among - Mr. Cuyler's
active co-workers in freeing slaves were Abram Pryne, Capt. Throop,
and Griffith Cooper, of Williamson; Dr. Cook, of Sodus; and William
R. Smith, of Macedon.

Capt. H. N. Throop was born in Pultneyville November 10, 1807, and
was a son of the Samuel Throop previously mentioned. From the age
of fourteen he followed the business of boat building and commanding
lake vessels, and during his life built at Pultneyville a number of
schooners, yachts, and steamers. Among" the more important vessels
which Capt. Throop constructed were the steamer Ontario and the
steam yacht Magic. His brother, Washington S., was associated with
him more or less in business, and under the hitter's supervision the
captain built in 1832 the stone house in Pultneyville, which he occupied
until his death, April L3, L884."

Prominent among other citizens of the town may be mentioned the
names of John Adams, the no-license commissioner; Darius F. Rus-
sell, grandson of Daniel (who settled very early on the old Sodus road),
who resides on the homestead; the Wake family; John A. Sprague,
coroner; Reuben Nash, who died here a few years since; R. M. and
G. F. Cheetham, brothers, bankers; and William Eaton. Numerous
others are noticed a little further on and in Part II of this work.

During the rebellion the town sent 172 of her citizens to defend the
Union. A number of these were killed in action and several died in
rebel prisons. Of those who returned but few have survived the lapse
of time to tell the story of the great conflict.

There are four cemeteries in this town. The first land used for
burial purposes was a plat on the Martin farm, and among the first
burials therein were Mrs. J. W. Hallett, William Cornwall, and Robert
Armstrong. This is now Lake View Cemetery at Pultneyville and for
its maintenance an association was legally incorporated a few years
since. Albert A. Pallister is secretary and superintendent. A little
west of Williamson village on the south side of the Ridge road is an-
other pretty burial ground. The first interment in it was the body of
Mrs. Seeley, in L809, and the second a child of William Rogers. There
is also ;i v at East Williamson, and an old burying ground on

the west side of the road near tin- Marion town line.

The first school house was erected on the present public square in
Pultneyville' in 1808, and a Mr. Morrison was the first teacher therein.


It was burned in the winter of L816— 17, and in L811 a larger building
was erected on the site. This was used until it was superseded by i In-
present stone structure. Schools have been maintained at Williamson
since 1811 and at East Williamson from an early day. At the former
village there is a good graded school with F. L. Coop as principal. The
town now has fourteen districts with a school house in each, in which
sixteen teachers are employed. The -whole number of children who
attended these schools in 1803-4 was 579; value of school buildings and
sites, $10,115; assessed valuation of the districts, $1,019,000; public
money received from the State, $1,957.80; amount raised by local tax,

Williamson Village. — This is a post village and a station of the R.
W. & O. Railroad a little south of the center of the town. Major Will-
iam Rogers came here in 1808 and took up 100 acres on the west side
of the four corners. In the same year Abraham Gallup purchased a
similar tract on the southeast corner and John Holcomb on the north-
east corner. These were the only inhabitants in the south part of the
town at that time. They each built a log house and Major Rogers
opened a tavern in his. This old tavern dwelling was twenty by fifteen
feet in size and one story high. It was divided into two rooms, one for
the family, the other for the bar room, and stood just west of the site
of the present hotel. In 1810 a log addition 12x16 feet was added for a
bar room, and a few shelves were partially filled with a variety of goods
and groceries. Rogers kept this tavern until 1816, when the property
was purchased by Dennison Rogers, of Palmyra. The latter built a
small frame addition, which was used in connection with the log part,
was rented to different parties, changed hands, rebuilt, and finally
burned. Major Rogers was the first postmaster and had his office in
this tavern store. The "post route " from Canandaigua to Pultneyville
passed through this settlement. Mr. Holcomb removed to Sod us in
1811, and Simeon S. Strong transformed his log house into a black-
smith shop. It stood on the lot occupied by John French. Mr. Strong
carried on his trade here until his death in 1827. He also manufac-
tured rifles.

About 1815 the first regular store was opened by Alfred J. Deming
in a part of the frame building now occupied on the same site by Frank
Gordon & Co. William Gallup built the first frame dwelling in is In,
in which he kept a tavern for a period ; this is now a part of George
Russell's residence. The first school house was a log building erected



in L811, a little west of the tavern, and in it John Lambert was the
first teacher. In L815 the place comprised two hotels, one store, a
blacksmith shop, a school house, and one frame and live log- houses.
Drs. Bigelow and Josiah Bennett were the earliest physicians.

The Williamson steam flouring mill was built by William Eaton, the
present proprietor, in L873, with three runs of stones. In May, 1891,
these were replaced by a full roller process.

C. J. Muhl and C. J. Elve formerly carried on quite an extensive
business here in their respective establishments in the manufacture of
wagons and sleighs; but their work now is largely confined to repair-

R. ML Cheetham & Co. (F. G. Cheetham) opened their private bank
July 15, L893. It is the first and only banking institution in the town.

The Williamson Fire Company No. 1 was organized April 20, 1889,
with forty members. A brake engine and a hose cart, ladders, and
over 500 feet of hose were purchased at a cost of about $600. A frame
engine house is now (1894) in process of erection, which, with the lot,
costs $800. J. A. French is foreman of the company.

Williamson village now contains three general stores, two hardware
;s, a drug store, two hotels, two liveries, a newspaper, a private
bank, a clothing store, two jewelry stores, a furniture and undertaking
establishment, one grocery, a variety store, a photograph gallery, five
physicians, one attorney, one dentist, a harness shop, two meat mar-
kets, three blacksmiths, two milliner)* stores, two carriage and wagon
dealers, two wood-working shops, a flouring mill, two warehouses and
produce dealers, a lumber yard and planing mill, three churches and
about loo inhabitants. The present postmaster is Abraham Clic-

I'i i r\i;\ \ii.i i ■:. - -This village was named from Sir William Pultney,
one of the proprietors of the Pultney estate. It lies on the lake shore
at the mouth of Salmon Creek, near the center of the north border of
i. and is a United States port of entry in the Genesee district.
During the aboriginal occupancy of the country this point was a favor-
ite meeting place of the Indians; here they met the French voyageurs
in their maloupes; here they came on fishing excursions; here the
French expedition of L686, against the Senecas, made a hah; and here
was the end of an Indian trail which led to Seneca Lake, and over
which the early mails were carried once a week from Canandaigua, by
Andrew Stewart on horseback. The first postmaster was Samuel Led-


yard. Merc also Commodore Vco landed a small force of English

marines in June, IS 14, which were fired on by the militia that had as-
sembled under Gen. John Swift. It had been agreed between the
commanders that the British were to have all the public property in
the place, but persons and private property were to be respected. Most
of the United States stores had been removed. Boats landed and took
on board a quantity of flour from the storehouse. The American
militia were stationed some distance back, and it was understood by
them that the British were confined by the stipulation to the warehouse
yard. Two or three of them came outside some distance, and were
fired upon by one of the militia, and an officer was wounded. A signal
was at once given to the fleet, which commenced firing, and the party
on shore went to the tavern and captured Richard White and Russell
Cole, and thence to the storehouse and took Prescott Fairbanks. Cole
escaped before leaving shore; the others were taken to Montreal. Fair-
banks was soon released, and White was exchanged some time after.
Fortunately for Pultneyville and her people, a signal was given to the
fleet that they were needed in another quarter, and the shore party,
hastily taking to their boats, pulled away. In this skirmish the British
suffered a loss of two killed and two wounded. One man was killed on
shore by their own firing, and the other on the ship by the premature
discharge of a cannon. The militia lost none.

As early stated, J. W. Hallett was given 1,000 acres of land, where
Pultneyville now is, in 1806; he accordingly settled here that year, as
also did vSamuel Throop and Samuel Ledyard. In 1807 Mr. Throop
erected on village lot No. 2 the first frame house in the place, and in it
he kept tavern until 1810. Mr. Hallett : s log dwelling, built in 1806,
stood on a lot subsequently owned by Mrs. Samuel C. Cuyler. Jeremiah
Selby in 1808 put up another on the corner of Washington and Jay
streets; in 1809 he erected a saw mill and grist mill, one on each side
of the mouth of Salmon Creek. Near these mills during that year
Samuel Ledyard built the first log store building here; several years
later he superseded it with a frame structure twenty rods east of the
log house. Mr. Ledyard also constructed piers for a harbor, built two
warehouses, and began a forwarding and shipping business to Canada
and down the St. Lawrence. Russell Cole put up a blacksmith shop,
and afterward built a larger one on the site of the James B. Cragg

In 1810 Russell Whipple built a larger tavern which comprised a part


of the hotel that was burned in 1887. The year before a tannery and
distillery had been placed in operation. The old tannery building- is
now used as a eider mill and dry house. In 1812 the village consisted
of a saw mill, a grist mill, one store, one tavern, a distillery, a tannery,
two warehouses, a cabinet shop, a school house, and about twenty
dwellings. April 12, 1887, fire destroyed the old hotel (which had been
kept several years by William Smith), a drug store, harness shop, two
dwelling houses and the post-office.

The first physician was Dr. Mallory in 1810. In 1819 a Mr. Allen
started a forge. In 1825 a Union church edifice was built, the corner
stone being laid by members of Pultneyville Lodge, No. 159, F. and
A. M., which was organized in 1811. This building was lengthened
and remodeled a few years since, a basement put under it, and is now
the (hites Public Hall. The grist mill here was erected by James B.
Cragg, and upon his death passed into the hands of his sons. The
present proprietor is George Lee.

Pultneyville now contains a hotel, two general stores, a drug store,
two blacksmith shops, a cooperage, one flouring mill, a lumber yard,
a public hall, storage and forwarding business, a government light-
house, two churches, a district school, and about 300 inhabitants. The
postmistress is Ellen Tufts.

E \m' Williamson.— This little rural hamlet was settled by Holland-
ers at an early date. It is located near the east border of the town,
south of the railroad, and consists of a post-office, two stores, two
churches, a blacksmith shop, school, and about twenty dwellings. The
postmaster is J. J. Lacknor.

Churches. — The First Presbyterian Church of Williamson was or-
ganized by Rev. Allen C. Collins, a missionary, November 21, 1816,
the constituent members being: Isaac Curtis, Barnabas Moss, Luther
Bristol, Alinda Paddock, Lucretia and Nancy Moody, Eunice Nash,
Christiana Mason, Wilhelmina Pepper, John Albright, Abraham Pep-
per. Maria Fairbanks, Catharine Curtis, and Marcia De Kruyft. The
first church edifice was a brick structure erected in 1828, one-fourth of
a mile south of Williamson village. It cost $3,000, and was used until
L859, when it was demolished. From that year until 1862 meetings
were held in the Baptist Church. The present edifice was begun in
the latter year and finished in L866. The first settled pastor was Rev.
lei White, who was installed January 24, 1 s is. The society has
now eighty-five members, under Rev. L. W. Page, of Rochester,



pastor. The Sunday school was organized as early as 1832; the pres-
ent superintendent is Edward Cornish.

The First Baptist Church of Williamson was organized by Rev. Mar-
vin Allen, with thirty members December 12, 1826, the first trustees
being" David Williams, Pasqua Austin, Dr. Josiah Bennett, Daniel Pop-
pino, James Wright, R. A. Lee, and Lewis Bradley. The first church
building was erected on the site of the present edifice in 1827, and was
dedicated the same year by Rev. Mr. Allen, the first pastor. It was a
"galleried" structure, and was built by subscription "payable in grain
or money." In 1842 it was burned and in the next year the present
cobble stone church was built; it was dedicated by Rev. Seth Ewer in
184H. The society has about sixty members under the pastoral charge
of Rev. C. B. Welcome. The Sunday school, which was organized
with the church, has seventy-five scholars, with Nelson Olcott as super-

The Second Methodist Episcopal Church of Williamson was incor-
porated March 26, 1828, with the following members:

Serall Robins,
John Wake,
Richard Britton,
Ira Clark,
John M. Bull,
David Alexander,
S. P. W. Douglass,
George Howell,
Anthony Wake,
Erastus Seely,
Thomas Wake,
Benjamin Green,

Richard Abbey,

Thomas Pallister,

John Clark,

Earl Wilcox,

Levi Eddy,

John Hutchins,

Stephen Skellinger and wife

Charles B. Gardner,

Jonathan Wake,

Nathaniel Russell,

Allen C. Tracy,

Lyman Robins,

Isaac Fish,
Lyman Sandford,
Thomas Britton,
J. W. Sherman,
Simeon Miller,
William Danforth,
A. B. Pepper,
William Wake,
Harry Fish,
William Grigsby,
Munson Seelv.

The original trustees were Richard Britton, John Wake, and Serall
Robins. The first house of worship was built of cobble stone in 1830,
and still stands on the south side of the Ridge road about two miles
west from Williamson village. It has always been locally known as the
" Ridge Chapel. " In 1856, when the present church was erected in
the village, the chapel was converted into a dwelling and is now used
as a dry goods house by John Starks. The present pastor is Rev. John
E. Showers. The society has always maintained regular services and
is in a flourishing condition.

The First Methodist Episcopal Church of Pultneyville apparently had
a nominal existence prior to 1830, for in 1833 there was a record of a


parsonage being purchased. It is known that an edifice was erected
in L825 (the same building- since remodeled and raised, was known as
Gates Public hall) by the Union Society, which was independent of gen-
eral church government, but which contributed the use of the church
in any Christian denomination. This house was used for more than a
generation and was maintained by disposing of the pews on subscrip-
tion. The first settled pastor was Rev. E. H. Cranmer, in lS51-:>.
The society was incorporated April S, L872. with John Van Winkle,
Albert Milliman, Ansel Cornwall, James Shipley, and Walter Shipley,
trustees. The corner stone of the present brick church was laid July
1. is! 4. under pastoral charge of Rev. J. A. Fellows, jr. It was dedi-
cated March 27, 1875, and cost $7,888.76. In 1878 a new parsonage
was built nearly on the site of the old one at a cost of about $1,200.
The present membership is 100. Rev. Byron B. Showers is pastor,
and Isaac Fisher, superintendent of the Sunday School.

The Reformed Church of Pultneyville was organized May 13, 1850,
the first pastor being Rev. A. K. Kasse. The) 7 first worshiped in a
building removed here from East Williamson, where it had been used
as a Presbyterian chapel. It is now a storehouse owned by Mary Cot-
trell. The present frame church was built in 1872 and cost about
$4,000. The parsonage was built in 1888, and cost $1,215. The so-
ciety has about 170 members, under the pastoral care of Rev. M. Van
I )orn.

Protestant Episcopal services were held at a comparatively early date
at the house of Samuel Ledyard in Pultneyville, and St. Paul's Epis-
copal Church was formally organized. It had but a brief existence,
however, and never acquired a substantial meeting place.

The Reformed Church of East Williamson was organized November
1. L854, by the Presbytery of Rochester. It had forty constituent mem-
bers and Rev. A. B. Veenhuizen was installed the first pastor. In
L852 a cobble stone church was built and it was used until 1890, when
the present frame edifice was built at a cost of $6,200. It was dedi-
cated February L0, L891. A frame parsonage was built in 1883 and
cost $1,700. The lot of ten acres on which the buildings stand was

purchased of Josiah Bruno in L882 for $2, The society has 261

members, with Rev. Martin < >ssewaarde, pastor.

The First Free Methodist Church of East Williamson was organized
October 6, L866, by Rev. Benjamin Winget. Services were held in
school houses and dwellings until 1887, when the present frame church


was built; the parsonage was built in 1889, the entire property now
being- worth about $2,800. The first pastors were Rev. Charles Bee-
man and wife, the latter a licensed evangelist. The present pastor is
Rev. James A. Tholens. The membership is 35.



( hitario, the northwest corner town in Wayne county, was set off
from Williamson as Freetown on the 27th of March, 1807. The name
was changed February 12, 1808. As originally constituted it included
also Walworth, which was organized into a separate township April 20,

Online LibraryGeorge Washington CowlesLandmarks of Wayne County, New York → online text (page 33 of 107)