Arad Thomas.

Pioneer history of Orleans county, New York. Containing some account of the civil divisions of western New York, with brief biographical notices of early settlers, and of the hardships and privations online

. (page 11 of 32)
Online LibraryArad ThomasPioneer history of Orleans county, New York. Containing some account of the civil divisions of western New York, with brief biographical notices of early settlers, and of the hardships and privations → online text (page 11 of 32)
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in his occupation, as a farmer.

I followed the business of teaching school for sever-
al Avinters, when I was a young man.

TJay 5, 1818, my brother Cliapin and myself started
from my father's house in Hinsdale, Mass., on foot,
vAth knapsacks on our backs, for the 'Genesee'

After going to Batavia and looking over the towns
of Orangeville and China, we came to Barre and set-
tied on lot 3, township 14, range 2, of the Holland
Purchase, about two miles south of Barre Center
whei-e we still reside, (1864.)


We took our a,rticle for our land, May 18, 1818, and
'immediately began chopping, boarding witli a family
named Cutlibret.

I taught a district school, in all, seven winters, and
singing school two terms.

One of our neighbors, Henry Edgerton, a strong,
athletic man, carried a bushel and a half of wheat on
'his back, to Farwell's mill, in Clarendon, eight miles,
got it ground and brought it home.

In the fall of 1820, my brother and myself, having
partially recovered from fever and ague, from which
we had suifered, and getting somewhat homesick,
'Went on foot back to Mass., being quite discouraged
at the prospect of ever paying for our land, as the
price of produce was so low. We wanted to sell out.

Finding no opportunity to sell our articles, we
•worked out for farmers in Massachusetts the next
season, at $8 a month, then the common wages, and
returned to Barre, in the fall of 1821, to sell our im-
provements, but found no buyers.

We had agreed to give six dollars an acre for our
■'land, on ten years' time — the first two years without
•interest. At this time, wheat was worth in Rochester
■from thirty-one to thirty-seven cents a bushel.

While I was teaching school in Springfield, Mass.,
in 1821, I saw Esq. Brewster of Riga, Monroe Co., N.
'Y., who, with one of his neighbors, had come there
from Riga, with two large loads of flour, drawn by
four yoke of oxen. The flour sold for $5 a barrel. —
They sold their ox(,^n and Genesee sleds, bought a
span of horses and an old sleigh and returned to Riga.

In the summer of 1822, I boarded with Mr. Edger-

.ton, and worked two days of every nine for him, to

pay my board. That season I cleared, fenced and

sowed ten acres with wheat, from which next season

.1 harvested 25o bushels of o:ood wheat. The canal


being then navigable west as far as Brockport, 1
conld sell my wheat there for $1 a bushel.

My brother and myself divided our land, giving me
109 acres. I then abandoned the intention of selling,
and NoA'. 10, 1823, was married to Miss Martha M.
Buckland, daughter of John A. Buekland, of South

In those days we were required Iw law to '•irain^
as soldiers, two days in each year, viz : on the first
Monday in June and September, company training,
and one day for a general muster, which was often
held at Oak Orchard Creek. ^Ye were often called
to meet at Oak Orchard and made the journey, 10
miles, on foot, carrying our gun and equipments and
paying our own expenses. We would drill until
near night, then on being dismissed, return home the
same day, if indeed we Avere able to reach home be-
fore the next morning.

In the early times in this countr}^, inspectors of
Common Schools were allowed no comxjensation for
their services, the honor of the office being deemed
sufficient remuneration. After serving the town in
that office several years gratis, Dr. J. K. Brown and
I agreed and declared to the electors, that if ap-
pointed to that office again we would pay our fines of
$10 and thus relieve ourselves of the service, where-
upon the town voted to give us seventy-five cents each
per da}^, for the time we might be on duty.

Under circumstances like these, not as many were
seeking the small town offices then as now.

Bears, wolves, wild cats, deer, raccoons, hedge
hogs and othcM- w^ild animals, were 2:)lenty here then.

In the summer of 1818, my brother and I be-
ing at work chopping on our farm, heard a hog
squeal, and saw a b(\ar walking off very deliberatel}^
carrying tlie hog in his j^aws. We gave chase and as
we came near, the bear dropped his prey and ran off;


he liad killed the hog. We then made 'a dead fall,'
as it was called, in wliich to entrap the bear, which
was a pen made l)}^ driving stakes into the ground,
and interweaving them with brusli horizontally, in
which the hog was placed. Into this pen we expect-
ed the bear would come and spring a traj), which
would let a weight fall upon him. It proved a suc-
cess, for in the morning we found the bear in the pen ;
he had sprung the trap, and a spike of the dead fall
through his leg held him fast.

Religious meetings were early establislied and
maintained at South Barre and Barre Center. Dea-
con Orange Starr was among the foremost in these

Many pleasant reminiscences of pioneer life might
be mentioned, for though we endured many hard-
ships and privations, we had plenty of sport mingled
with them, giving ns a pleasant variety of mirthful
enjoyment. Major Daniel Bigelow, being a good
horseman, and having no horse, broke one of his ox-
en to the saddle, and was accustomed to ride him
through the settlement.

Riding out one day, his ox being very thirsty and
coming near a large puddle of water, started forward
to the drink on double-quick time, and iDlunging into
the water, stopped so suddenly as to throw his good-
natured rider over his head, sprawling into tlie mnd,
much to the amusement of those looking on.

I am a descendant, on my mother's side, of the
seventh generation, from Samuel Chapin, an early pi-
oneer of Springfield, Mass., who settled there when
only three families were in the place. At a gathering
of his descendants at Springfield, on Sept. 17, 1862,
fifteen hundred such descendants were present. Dr.
J. Gr. Holland, known as 'Tinioth}' Titcomb,' deliver-
ed a poem on the occasion, wliich he said he was re-


quested to do because lie had married into the Chapin *.


I am also descended in the sixth generation on my

father's side, from Rev. Nicholas Street, who came -

from England and was ordained pastor over the tirst

church in New Haven, in 1659.

Dated, Barre, Feb. 25, 1804.


Extracts from the local history of Thomas W. Allis. ,
written by himself for the Pioneer Association.

''I was born in Gorham, Ontario Co., N. Y., Nov.-
1, 1798. My father died in the year 1805, and I was
brought up from that time until I attained my major-
ity, in the family of an uncle, in Hampshire, Mass.

In March, 1820, in company with a younger broth-
er, I moved to Murra}', in Orleans County, to what is
now the town of Kendall.

^Ve brought with us four barrels of tlour, one bar-
rel of pork, one barrel of whisky and a bed.

"We located three and one-fourth miles north of the ■
Ridge road, and on(3 mile east of the Transit Line.

In going from the Ridge to our place, we -passed-
Ijut one family and they lived in a log house, in the
woods, with no plastering between the logs, with only '
part of the ground covered by a floor, a bark roof, no

We liired our })rovisions cooked, and lived with a
family near by, in a log cabin similar to the one
above described.

We bought a contract for one hundred acres of
land, by the terms of which we agreed to pay 8300
for the improvements, and $G00 for the soil.

We kept bachelor's hall there most of the tinu^ for
four years.

I soon bought iifty acres more of land, witli six
acres improvement on it, for Avhicli T agived to pay


8450. But few families were then north of the Ridge,
in tliat section of country,

I worked at clearing land and raising crops.
Wheat was worth only three shillings per bushel, de-
livered in Rochester.

The first plow in our settlement, I bought in com-
pany with two neighbors. Vie walked to Gaines
village, bought one of Wood's patent plows and car-
ried it on our backs from the Ridge road three ar.d
one-fourth miles to our home.

I was married Nov. 18, 1824, to Miss Elizab^ili
Clements, of Queensbury, Warren Co. N. Y.

On the 9th of Januar}^, 1826, my house was burned
with all my furniture and clothing and one yeais"
provision. Our neighbors turned out and drew logs
and rolled up part of a house, but a snow storm came
on and stopped the work before it wa? finished. ]My
brother and myself afterwards built a log house, com-
mencing on Thursday at noon, built a stone chimney,
linished and moved into it the next Saturday'. Siz«^
of the house was sixteen b}" thirteen feet. We liv^^d
in this small house about two years and then I finish-
ed the house which had been begun by my n(,^ighbors
soon after the hre.

I resided in the house last built about fourteen

I paid interest on the purchase money, for the fiTut
liundred acres I bought, to about the amount of th.e
])rincij)al before I took a deed.

I afterwards bought fifty-three acres for 8450, for
which T paid with the avails of one crop of vv'heat.

In 1887 I bought a timber lot of 48 acres.

In 1840 I built a frame house, thirty hy sev(>iity
iWi, which cost me 82,000.

In March, 1860, I sold my farm in Kendall, pait < t
which I had held for fort}^ 3'ears, and bouglit a hor.t:fore I was naturalized, or a voter in town
or State. I resigned all militaiy office A])ril 2()th,

I have labored steadily as a farmer, (Mijoying good
health, except ha^■ing tlu^ ague, as I have stated, and
liad a^ g'ood degree of ])rosi)ei-ity attend my laboi's.

]\Iarch i)tli, 1S6.3.

EXo-^ niCK.

Enosllice was ])()in in Conway, Ilampsiiire county,


Massacluisetts. in 1790, and came with liis fatlier's
family in 1804, to Madison county, N. \ .

In June 1810, witli a pack on his back, lie came to
Ban-e Orleans county, and located on lot eighteen, in
township fifteen, van-e two, where he cleared ahout
tw(^nty acres. He next lived a f.^w years m {Shelby,
and in 1831 bought a farm near Porter^ s Corners,
where he has ever since resided.

Mr Rice began in the world poor, but by persever-
ino- industry ^and frugality h.^ has acquired a fan-
amount of property to mak(^ his old age comfort-

].rTiii:n i'ohtkk.
- My father Stpplien Porter, was born in Lebanon,
Connecticut. Abmit the year 1812 or 'IB he started
with his wife and live childnm on an ox sled, witn one
yoke of small oxen to come to ^ York btate. He
had but few articles of furniture and but ^Go m
mon(0'. After a Journey of twenty-two days, with
^extraordinary good luck, he landed in Smyrna, Cne-
nango countyr N. Y., with cash reduced to >5l8
Hei-e he hired an old log house in whidi he resided
one year. Tlun lir hitched his oxen to the old sled,
and' with his traps and liimily aboard, started for
Ontario county. After travebng seven days, he ar-
rived at his place of destination and hired a house
and twenty-five acres of land.

In th(^ fall of 1815, he took an article from the Hol-
land Land CompauA-. of the west hundred acres of
lot 40. township 14, range 2, in Barre, the same on
which' I now resid(^ about three-fourths of a mile
west of Portei-s Corners. In. March following, m
company with Allen Porter, Samuel Porter and Jo-
seph Kockwood, he started with provisions for hve
weeks, to make a beginning on their lands. They es-
tablished thir d.^pot of provisions at the house of

158 piONEEii iiLvronY

Dea. Ebenezer Rogers, in tlif soutli part of what is
now the village of Albion.

They took what provisions the}' wanted for a week
on their backs, with their axes and started through
the woods to their lands, about five miles away, the
snow being about knee deep.

The first thing in order was to select a place to
build their cabin. The site was fixed on the farm
now owned by J. AV. Stocking, about twenty rods
east of where Stocking's house stands. They cut such
poles as they could carry and built their first cabin
ten by twelve feet square, covered it with split bass-
wood troughs, got it tenable, and the colon}' moved
in and took possession the same day. They cut hem-
lock boughs and spread them on the ground, covering
them with blankets, which made a good bed. The
room not occupied by the bed served for cvdinary and
dining purposes. After thus preparing their house
they commenced chopping in earnest, working through
the week until Saturday afternoon, when they all re-
turned to Mr. Rogers' to spend the Sabbath and get
another weeks' j^rovisions. In this way they worked
until they had chopped about five acres each, when
they all returned to Ontario Co., to spend the sum-

In January, 1820, my father moved his famil}' to
his new home in Barre, where he made a comfortal^le
residence the remainder of his life, and died in the
fall of 1831, aged 53 years.

My father paid little more than tlie interest on the
purchase money for his land, while lie lived. It was
paid for b}' his sons and has been a home for the
family ever since.

In the spring of 181G there was no liouse occupied
by a family in Bari-e, west of the Oak Orchard Road,
on the line on which my father located, although sev-
eral were in process of erection. My mother died on



tlie homestead, Aiignst 1857, aged 77 years. I was
my fatlier's second son, and now own and reside on
the old premises, to whicli I have made additions hy

I was born in Ashfield, Mass., in 1805, and came to
this county with my father, in 1820, being then about
fifteen 3'ears old.

I have had abundant experience in pioneer life. I
have chopped and logged and cleared land. I boiled
blade salts three or four years, a part of the time
barefoot, because my father was too poor to furnish
me shoes, with little other damage than the occasion-
al loss of a toe nail, or a small wound in the foot from
sharp stubs.

I have lived through it all, and by dint of economy
and industry have advanced from poverty to compe-

I have held various offices in the gift of m}' fellow-
citizens. I was Suj)ervisor of the town of Barre from
1857 to 1862, five successive jenvs.

There was no school in my neighborhood for sever-
al years after 1820. The first district school house
built there was erected at Sheldon's Corners. The
district was afterwards divided and a log school
house built about a mile north of Ferguson's Cor-
ners. Again the district was divided and now stands
as district No. 12, with a good school house.

I married for my first wife, Lydia Scoot, daughter
of Capt, Justin Scoot, of Ontario County, Oct. 20,
1830. She died Dec. 3, 1842. I married for my sec-
ond wife, Caroline Culver, daughter of Orange Culver
of South Barre, June 27, 1844, with whom I am still


Barre, ]\Iay 27, 18G:J.


Nehemiah Ingersoll was born in Stanford, Dutchess


Co., N. Y., in 178C. In 1816, he removed to Batavia,
where he remahied a jeav or two, then "bought a farm
in Elba, five miles north of Batavia, to Avliich he re-
moved and where he kept a public house several
years. In April, 1822, in company with James P.
Smith and Chillian F. Buckley, he bought of William
Bradner one hundred acres of land in Albion, bound-
ed north by the town of Gaines ; west by the Oak
Orchard road ; south by Joel Bradner' s farm, and ex
tending east one hundred rods from the Oak Orchard
Road. For this tract the}' paid 84,000. i\Ir. Inger-
soll soon bought of Smith and Buckley, all their in-
terest in this land.

Soon after purchasing this tract iSIr. Ingersoll had
a large i)art of it surveyed and laid out into village
lots, believing a town vrould soon grow up. He
did not immediatel}^ remove to Albion but did com-
mence improving his property there.

He and his associates built the large warehouse
standing on the canal at the foot of Piatt street and

Online LibraryArad ThomasPioneer history of Orleans county, New York. Containing some account of the civil divisions of western New York, with brief biographical notices of early settlers, and of the hardships and privations → online text (page 11 of 32)