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 15 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 15 of 32)
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"My father came from Connecticut about the year
1811, and purcliased a farm about a mile south of
Holley, on wliicli he resided until his death in 1828.
He was twice married — my mother, Mrs. Eunice Dar-
row, being his second wife. My father had but one
child by his first wife, a daughter named Hester, who
in after ^^T-ars became I^Irs. Daniels, and is now Mrs.

When tliis sister ^vas four 3^ears old her mother
died of consumption. At that time ni}^ father s house
was the only one between Holley and FarwelFs Mills.
In other directions it was a mile to the nearest neigh-
bors. During her last illness my father was her prin-
(;ipal physician and nurse. He used frequently to
sa}^ to his friends he feared she would die suddenly
while alone with him.

It was arrangx^d between my father and his nearest
neighbors, that if anything more alarming occurred
in her case, he should blow the horn as a signal for
tliem to come.

Not long aftei-, at midnight of a dark v.inter Jiight,
death knocked at his door ; he took the tin horn and
blew the warning notes ; but the winds were adverse.
and nobody heard. Again and again he blew, lon-
ger and louder, but no one heard or came. His wife
soon expired. "My father closed her oyoa, ])laced a
napkin about her head and covered her lifeless form


more closely, fearing it would become rigid before he
t;oiild obtain assistance to habit it in the winding sheet
preparatory for the tomb, for snch were tlie habili-
ments used in those days.

He dressed his little danghter, placed her in her lit-
tle chair by the fire, gave her her kitten to play with,
and told her to sit tliere until he came back. He then
went a mile to liis nearest neighbors and roused
fheni to come to his aid, and returned finding his
little daughter as he liad left lier, alone w4th lier dead

I was one of the first children born in the town of
Clarendon, being now 46 3'ears of age.


Clarendon, .Tune 1863.


"I was born in the town of Chatham, Columbia
county, N. Y., April 1st, 1808 ; have been a farmer
by occupation. My father, John Harrow, came to
WHieatland, Mom-op county, N. Y., in 1811, and
worked there two seasons, tlien returned to Columbia
county, sold his farm and was nearly read}' to move
his family to tlie Genesee countr}^ when he was taken
sick and died March 22d, 1813. "

In June, I8I0, my fjither's faniil}^ removed to the
farm he liad bought two A-ears previous. My mother,
then a wddow, married Mr. Bradstreet Spattbrd, w^ho
had settled in Clarendon, about the year 1811 or '12.
X grew up among the liardshijis of the new countrj^ ,
and December 30th, 1830, w^as married to Sarah A.
Sweet, daughter of Noali Sweet, wlio came to Claren-
clon from Saratoga county, in 1815. My wife was
bom in Saratoga county in 1812.

My lather was a blacksmith b}' trade, but owned
and worked a farm. He w^as one of the leading me-
chanics who made tlie great chain which was put


across the Hudson River to jDrevent the Britisli tleet
from coming nj) in tlie Revolutionary War, links of
which are now in tlie State Librar}' at Albany.

I have resided most of the time since 1815, in Clar-
endon ; and for the last twenty-four years on the same
farm. I lived a short tiine in Mui'ia}' and a short
time in Ohio.

I attended school in the first scliool liouse built in
Clarendon. It stood a little south of Clai'endon vil-
lage, and was built in 1813, of logs, and in size was
about fourteen by eighteen feet square, with slab floor
and benches. The writing desks were made b}' bor-
ing holes in the logs in the wall, driving in pins and
putting boards on these.

We have ten children, nine of whom are living.
M}^ second son is now serving in the army of the Po-
tomac in the war of the great rebellion.

I should have said in connection witli my father" s
history, that himself and three of his brothers served
in the Revolutionary War.

Clarendon, April 18G4.


Eldridge Farwell was born in A'ermont in 1770.

Sometime previous to 1811, Mr. Farwell located
near Clarkson village on the Ridge road, but removed
in that year to the town of Clarendon, then an un-
broken wilderness, where he built the first saw mill
in that town on Sandy Creek. This sav. mill made
the first boards had in all this regioil. In 1813, he
built a grist mill on the same stream, which was the
pioneer gristmill in that town.

On the organization of Orleans count}', ^Mr. Farwell
was appointed in 182i5 one of the Judges of tlu^ Court
of Common Pleas, which office he held five years.
The village sometimes caHed Farwell' s Mills in the

208 PioxEEK Hrs'jx>i;Y

tov/n of Clai'cndoii, was so naiiiod in his lionorlie
Ixniig the lii'st to settle tliere.

He married a daughter of Judge JolinLee, of Bavre.
Judge Farwell died October 15, 1843.

will!a:\! lewis.

William Lewis vv'as a Deputy Sheriff of Genesee
county. He was the first Sheriff of Orleans county.
He had held the. office of Snpervisor and Justice of
.tlie Peace in Clarendon. He was a prompt and efTi-
cient officer, and a worthy man. He died July 23d,
1824, aged about 43 years.


]\[artin Evarts \vas born in lliga, ^lonroe county,
N. Y., July 21st, 1812. He removed with his father's
family to Clareiidon in 1817. Until within a few years
he resided on the farm originally taken up l\y his
father. Mr. Evarts was Supervisor of (Marendon in
1863. He married Charlotte Burnham, August 19th,
1835. She died June 20th, 1862.


Lemuel Cook \sas born in ]S"ew Haven county, Ct.,
September 10th, 1763. His father died while Lemuel
was a child, leaving his widov.' and cliildi-cn in desti-
tute circumstanci^s.

In the revolutionary war Iih with his two brothei's
entered the army, Lemuel enlisting November 1st,
1779, being then in his 17th year. He was honorably
discharged June 11 th, 1783. After leaving the army
his poll tax Vv'as remitted to liim by the Select ]Men of
his town, on account of Avounds he had received in
battle while serving in the armies of his countr3^ In
1792, he settled in Pompey, Onondaga county. In
1838, he removed to Bergen, Genesee count3^ and from


thence to Clarendon, wliere lie died May 2()tli, 18GG.
of old age, being 102 years, 8 months and 1 days old.
He was probabh'' the oldest man that has lived in
Orleans eonnty. He was a revolntionaiyjiensioner.


. Isaac Cady was born in Alstead, New Hampshire.
July 26, 1793. He married Betsey Pierce, October
26th, 1816. He came to Clarendon in 1810. on foot,
from Kingston, \t., and located the land o]i which
he afti^i'wards settled and lias since resided.




First SotUers — Case of Getting Fire — Noah Burgess — Mrs. Burgess —
Catting Logs for a House — First Orchard — First School House —
Drake's Mill Dam and Saw Mill— Organization of McCarty's Mil-
itia Company — Their Scout after British and Indians — Dr. Jesse
Beach — Orange Butler — First Marriage — First Birth — First News-
paper in Orleans County — First Tavern — Store — Grist Mill— First
Merchants — .James Mather Dealing in Black Salts, &.c. — Business at
Gaines Basin — Village of Gaines^ — Gaines Academy — Efforts to Lo-
cate Court House Here — Trade in Other Localities — Biographies of
Early Settlers.

AINES was formed from Ridgeway, Febnia-
.^^5^ ry 14th, 1816, and included tlie town of BaiTe,
^ and the principal part of Carlton, within its
oiiginai limits. William J. Babbitt was prominent!}'
active in getting this town organized, and on his sug-
gestion it was named Gaines, in honor of Gen. E. P.
Gaines, of the U. S. ^\-rmy.

A number of families had located along the Ridge
Road before the war with England in 1812. One of
tlie first settlers, if not the lirst, within the present
bounds of the town of Gaines, was a Mr. Gilbert,
Avho was living about two miles east of Gaines vil-
lage, iji 1809. He died in or about that year and was
buried in Murray. A man who accompanied the
Avidow and li^\r niece liomefrom the funeral, they being
all the lamily, found their fire had gone out, and they
had no means to kindle it, until this man, on liis way
home called and notified Mr. Elijah Downer, and he


sent liis son several miles to cany tlieni lire, tliey
being the nearest neighbors.

The records of the Holland Land Company show
that articles for land in the town of Gaines, i)arts of
township lifteen, range two, were taken in the year
1809, by the following named persons : Andrew Ja-
cox, Whitfield Rathbun, William Sibley, Cotton M.
Leach, JSToali Bnrgess, James Mather, and Henry

Turner's Histor}^ of the Holland Purchase says:
"Whitfield Rathbun was the pioneer upon all that
part of the Ridge Road, in Orleans county, embraced
in the Holland Purchase.''

Noah Burgess came from Canada in a boat with
his family and effects and landed at the head of «Still-
water, in Carlton. He located on the south side of
the Ridge, on the farm now occupied by Hon. Robert
Anderson and his son Nahum.

Mr. Burgess was sick and unable to work when he
first arrived, and the widow Gilbert, above referred to,
took her oxen and moved the family and effects of
Mr. Burgess from Stillwater to his jjlace on the Ridge,
a distance of about four miles. Mrs. Bnrgess, avIio
was a strong, athletic woman, then chopped down
trees and cut logs for a log house, and Mrs. Gilbert
drew them to the spot with her oxen, and the walls
of the house were rolled up from these logs by men
who came along to look for land. The house so built
was occupied for a time b}' Mr. Burgess, and stood
where the Ridge Road is now laid in front of the
dwelling house of Nahum Anderson. Mrs. Burgess
set out a small orchard of apple trees near her house,
which is supposed to be the first orchard set in

Mr. Burgess sold his land to William Bradner, and
located a mile farther east, where he died some twen-


ty years ago, and Mrs. Burgess, referred to, died in^
the summer of 1869.

Tlie widow Gilbert was a hardy pioneer. The
next winter after the death of her husband, aided b}''
her niece. Amy Scott, she cut down trees to furnish
browse for a j^oke of oxen and some other cattle
through the winter. Slie removed to Canandaigua in
1811. '

Rowley, AVilcox, Leach, Adams, Rosier, Sprague,
and Daniel Pratt were some of the settlers along the
Ridge in 1810.

Daniel Gates came in 1811 and bought an article'
of a farm, about two miles west of the village of
Gaines, on the south side of the Ridge, since known as
the Palmer farm.

A former proprietor had chopped down the trees on
a small spot and built a cabin of logs, twelve feet
square, with a single roof.

The Holland Company agreed with their settlers if
the}^ would make a clearing and build a log house,
they might have the land two years Avithout paying
interest on the purchase monej^.

■ This cabin was built to save such interest, and ac-
quired additional notoriety from the fact that in this
building Orrin Gleason taught the first school in
Gaines, in the winter of 1813.

Henry Drake came to Gaines in 1811. In 1812
he built a dam and sawmill on Otter Creek, a few
rods north of the Ridge — the first sawmill in this


When war with Great Britain was declared in 1812,..
the settlers in this vicinit}^ apprehending danger from
their proximity to the frontier, assembled together
and elected Eleazer McCarty, one of their number.
Captain, to lead them in their defence if the settle-
ment was attacked by the enem}'.

In December 1813, the British burned Lewiston, .


rand news was brought to Capt. McCarty by the fleeing
inhabitants, that British and Indians were coming-
east on the Ridge. Pie sent a messenger in the night
to John Proctor, the only man who had a horse in
the settlement, to carry the news to Murray, and call
the men together to resist them. The next morning
the company was en route towards the foe. The next
night they came in sight of Molyneaux tavern, ten or
12 miles east of Lewiston, and saw a light in the house.
Captain McCarty halted his men and advanced him-
self to reconnoiter. Approaching the place he saw
British and Indians in the house, their guns standing
in a corner. He returned to his men and brought them
■cautiousl}^ forward ; selected a few to follow him into
the house, and ordered the remainder to surround it
. and prevent the enemy from escaping. IMcCarty and
his party rushed in at the door and sprang between
the men and their guns and ordered them to surren-

The British soldiers and tlie Indians had been help-
ing themselves to liquor in the tavern, and some were
• drunk and asleep on the floor. The surprise was
complete. Most of the i)arty surrendered ; a few In-
dians showed fight with their knives and hatchets and
tried to recover their guns, and several of them were
killed in tlie melee. One soldier made a dash to get
his gun and was killed by McCarty at a blow. The
remainder surrendered and were put upon tlieir march
towards Lewiston, near which our army had then ar-
rived. One prisoner would not walk. The soldiers
dragged him forward on the ground awhile, and get-
ting tired of that, Henry Luce, one of McCarty' s men,
declared with an oath, he would kill him, and was
preparing for the act, wlien McCarty interfered and
saved his life.

McCarty encamped a few miles east of Lewiston.
While there he went out with a number of his men


and captured a scouting party of British soldiers re-
turning to Fort Niagara laden with plunder they
had taken from the neighhoring inhabitants. Mc-
Carty compelled them to carry the plunder hack to
its owners, and then sent them prisoners of war to

After fifteen or twenty da3"s service, McCarty's
company was discharged and returned home. Most
of his men resided in Gaines, and comprised nearly
all the men in town.

The first regular practicing physician in Gaines was
Dr. Jesse Beach.

The first licensed attorney was Orange Butler, who
settled here before it was determined whether the
county seat would be Gaines or Albion. Judge Eli-
jah Foot and W. W. Ruggies followed soon after.

The first marriage in Gaines was that of Andrew
Jacobs to Sally Wing, in the fall of 1810 or '11.

The first child born in Gaines was Samuel Crippeiiy ■
Jr., in 1809.

The first printing press in Orleans county was lo-
cated in Gaines, by Seymour Trac}', who published
the first newspaper there. Tracy was succeeded by
John Fisk.

The publication of this paper commenced about
1824, and continued about four years.

The first gristmill was built on Otter Creek, about
the year 1822, by Jonathan Gates.

The first tavern was kept by AVilliam Sibley iii
1811. The first store was kept by William Perry in

Among the early merchants were E. «5t. E. D. Nich-
ols, Y. R, Hawkins, and J. J. Walbridge.

James Mather, though he never kept a store of
goods, was an active trader in "black salts," potash,
and staves, which he purchased from the settlers and
took to the mouth of Oak Orchard Creek, or Gene-


see River, and sliipped to Montreal, for wliicii lie paid
in iron, salt lisli, leather, and some kinds of coarse
goods most needed, and some money.

Money to pa}^ taxes, and to meet the pressing wants
of the pioneers in this vicinity, was for some time
mainly derived from this source.

The merchants of Gaines hnilt a warehouse at
Gaines' Basin, on the canal, sooji after the canal was
navigable, where the goods for Gaines and other
towns north were mainly landed from the boats and
where the produce from the same region vv-as princi-
pally shipped.

A brisk business was done here for some }'ears,
and until the improvement in the highways, and the
growth and competition of neighboring villages had
drawn the trade elsewhere, when this warehouse was

About the time the canahwas completed, the vil-
lage of Gaines was a place of more trade and busi-
ness than any other in the county.

E. &. E. D. Mchols, Y. R. Hawkins, Bushnell ^c
Guernsey, and John J. AValbridge were thriving mer-
chants, doing a lively business in the dry gooort, as Gaines men called it, wh(>n con-
trasting places as sites for a Gonrt House, offered to

216 iMONEKK iii>;tohy

give away lots, and do many other generous acts if
the Court House was located there.

But the court house went to Albion, and the stream
of travel which once went on the Ridge, took to
the boats on the canal, and the post coaches hauled
off; villages grew up along the canal and trade
w^ent there.

The resolute business men of Gaines tried hard to
retain their high position, they got their academy and
their village and a bank (The Farmer's Bank of Or-
leans) incorporated b}' the Legislature, and lowered
the price of building lots. But their glory had de-
parted ; their acadeni}* stoi)ped, village franchises
were lost by non-user ; their ])ank went to the bad ;
but tlieir tine fai-ms, choice garden spots, and un-
rivaled Ridge Road remain good as ever.



•' 1 was born in AVeston, Fairheld county, Connect-
icut, May 15th, 1783. In the winter of 1790, my
father, iu c(jmpany with a neighbor set out to move
his family to the Genesee country. He had a covered
sled drawn by a yoke of oxen and a span of horses.
I well recollect as w(? weie about to start, our friends
around us tliought my parents verj^ cruel to take their
childreji away to tlie Genesee to be murdered by the

My fatlier and all his children had the measles while
Oil the Journey. My father ne^er fully r

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 15 of 32)