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

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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 16 of 32)
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until I had completed the roof of my cabin, which I
covered with bark. I had to travel seven miles to
get bread baked.

I w^ent to Massachusetts in the sununer and re-
turned to my cabin in January. In the spring of
1811, I cleared oft' and planted tlii'ee acres to corn,
and in the fall sowed five acres to wheat.

In December I went back to Massachusetts on foot.
February 11th, 1812, I was married to Miss Polly
Cummings, of Dunstable, and started on the 12th
with my wife for my home in the woods, in a sleigh
drawn by two horses.

When we arrived at oui' new home, at what has since
been called Fair Haven, in the town of Gaines, there
were but three familid all the inhabitants as far east as

The effect of the notice was almost electric, for
quite a regiment of men in number w^ere on the move
early the next morning, to check the advance of the
enemy. We marclied west to a place called Hard-
scrabble, near Lewiston, and there perfoimed a sort
of garrison duty for two weeks, when I with some
others returned, for, having been elected collector of
of taxes, it became necessary for me to attend to the
duties of my office.

Again in September, Avhile the war was in progress
at and near Fort Erie, in Canada, news came to us
tliat the British were about to attack the Fort and
our troops there must be reinforced. In conqoany
with several others I volunteered to go to their relief.
On arriving at the Fort, via. Buffalo, we made several
attacks on the enemy near th(.' Fort, and in the wood?
opposite Black Rock.


A sortie was made from the Fort Sej)tember ITtli,
ill wliicli we routed tlie enemy. In tliese actions sev-
eral bullets passed tlirougli my clothes, and one
grazed my finger.

A man of our company named Howard was killed,
another named Sheldon was wounded in the shoul-
der, and Moses Bacon was taken prisoner and carried
to Halifax.

In that sortie General Davis, of Le Roy, was
killed, and Gen. Peter B. Porter was taken prisoner,
and rescued again the same day. We came home
after an absence of twenty -four days.

About Fel)ruary 1st, 1815, I was notified to attend
the sitting of the court in Batavia as constable. Ow-
ing to the situation of my faniil}^ I could not be long
absent from home ; and in oi'der to get released from
court, it was necessary for me to appear before the
judge; so taking a rather early start I reached Batavia
before the court had 0]3ened in the morning. After
the court liad organized for business I presented my
excuse and was discharged.

After that I collected over one hundred dollars
taxes, made my returns as town collector, on half a
a sheet of paper, took a deed of one hundred acres of
land of the Holland Company, and an article for
another hundred acres and started for home, where I
arrived in the evening of the same day, liaving
traveled a distance of not less than forty-four miles.

In December, 1818, I made arrangements to visit
my friends in Massachusetts, on horseback. Several
of my neighbors were in to see me off. As I was
about to mount my horse a deer came down the creek
from the south. I ran into the house and got my
gun and some cartridges I brought from the war,
loaded my gun as I ran out, and as the deer was
passing leveled my gun and snapped it, but it missed
lire. I took up a stone and struck the Hint, and snap-

OF OliLKANS ('OUNT\. 22o

ped tlie gun again before the deer got out of range.
This time it discliarged killing the deer instantly. I
remained now and helped dress the deer and divided
it with our neighbors, and then went on my Journey.
I rode to Vermont, there exchanged my horse and
saddle for a cutter and another horse, and drove
to my destination, near Boston. After an ab-
sence of about sixty days I returned home in time to
dine oif a piece of the venison I killed just before
starting, which had been kept by my wife.

Our associations in our wilderness home undergo-
ing fatigue and hardships together, sharing alike in
gratitude for every success, and in sympathy' for
every adversity, bound the early settlers together as
a band of brothers.

For many years our religious worship was held in
common together, with no denominational distinc-


Gaines, June IbGo.

Mr. John Proctor died in 1868.


" I was born in Barrington, Rockingham county,
N. IL, November 18th, 1793. I was married Febru-
ary 28th, 1815, to Miss Olive Knight.

In the winter of 1823 we moved to Gaiiies, with
means litth' more than enough to defray the expense of
the journey, and settled on part of the farm on which
I now reside. AYe began by building a log house, the
crevices between tlie logs serving for windows. The
children would sit on the fire sill in front of where
was to be a chimney. Thus we lived from May 10th,
to fall, whcni we made our house comfortable for

M}" father was a pra(;tical farmer, and my first rec-


ollections of work were of helping clear land. He
with the help of his ho3^s, of whom I was eldest but
one, cleared one hundred and fifty acres.

Begining with little, we have by hard labor, strict
economy and the blessing of God, succeeded in se-
curing a comfortable home and a competence of this
world' s goods.


Gaines, March 18G4.


" I was born in Newport, Herkimer county, N. Y.y
July 24, 1804. In January, 1817, 1 removed with my
brother Stephen to the Holland Purchase and settled
in Ridgeway. The country with few exceptions Avas
a wilderness. Provisions were scarce and dear,
wheat worth three dollars a bushel, corn two dollars,
potatoes one dollar, and other things in proportion.
Before harvest nearly ever}^ family was destitute of
bread. Their resort for a substitute was to the grow-
ing wlieat, which was boiled and eaten with milk ; or
by adding a little cream and maple sugar together, to
make a kind of dessert after a meal of potatoes and
butter, and possibly a little deer, squirrel and raccoon

Our milk was strongly flavored with leeks occas-
ionally, with which our native ' pastures ' abounded,
but we used to correct this by eating a fresh leak
before eating the milk. AVe had plenty of maple

School houses were scarce, and of churches there
were none. I attended school in a log house two miles
from home, south of what is now Lyndonvilh^, and
this school house was for many years used as a place
for worship. Here I used to hear Elder Irons and
Elder Dutcher, Bajitists, and Elders Paddock,
Boardman, Hall, and Puffer, Methodists.


Among my early school tcarliers weiv Gen. AV. C.
Tanner and Mrs. Mastin.

C]iop2)ing, clearing and fencing land wa.s the prin-
cipal business in those days.

My last feat in chopping was in 1832, when I walked
three miles morning and evening, and chopped over
three acres, leaving it fitted for logging in ten and a
half days.

In FeTn*narv, 182o, I crossed Niagara river on the
ice wdiich had Avedged in near tlie niouth of the river.
It was a warm day, the water was on the ice and
large openings were frequent. In one place a seam
of open w'ater three feet across was passed on aboard,
which served as a bridge. I crossed in safety.

In the winter of 1826-7, I united with the Methodist
Episcopal Clmrch. I had never, to this time, heai'd a
temperance lecture or known anything of temperance-
societies, but from that time I believed it wicked to
use intoxicating drinks as a beveragv, and I have
never used them since.

I was mai-ried to Miss Eh'

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 16 of 32)