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 21 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 21 of 32)
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When his fatiier came in it was an unbroken wil-
derness on the west, from his place to the Oak Or-
chard Road, eight miles ; north to Sandy Creek, four
miles: east two miles; south to Farwell's Mills.
Eldridge Farwell, A. Dudley, John Cone, Wm. Aus-
tin and Mr. West, had settled in Clarendon, and
other settlers towards Sandy Creek came in the same
year witli Mr. Pierce. A few came before them.

In the years 1 817-18, the inhabitants in this settle-
ment suffered for want of food.

Samuel ISIiller worked for Artemas Daggett chop-
ping wood for one dollar a day and board himself..
All he had to eat, most of the time, was com meal


and water; l>ut lie did not complain or tell ol" it

Ebeuezer Fox settled a mile and a half east ol"
Murray depot, and all they had to eat for a number
of weeks was what they could pick up in the woods.
The best they could find was the inner bark of the
beech tree.

Mrs. Fox had a young babe, and her next oldest
child was in feeble health, and she had to nurse tliem
both to keep them from starving.

Almost all the money the settlers had was obtained
by leaching ashes and boiling the lye to black salts,
and taking these to Gaines or Clarkson and selling
them for about three dollars a liundred pounds.

After 1818 the country tilled up rapidly with set-
tlers and more produce began to be raised than was
wanted for home consumption. The price of wheat
fell to twenty-five cents a bushel, and onl}' tliirt}-one
cents after hauling to Rochester, and so remained nn-
til the Erie Canal was opened.

Mr. Pierce settled on lands owned 1)}' tht^ l^ultne^'
estate, and these did not come into market for sale
until 1821, though settlers were allowed to locate
themselves with the expectafion of buying their land
when it came into market. The ])rice of his lot was
fixed at eight dollars per acre, but having expended
so much in building and clearing, he was compelled
to pay the price or suffei' loss by alniiidoning all he
had done.

Tlie reason given by the conij)any for not bringing
their lands into market was, they liad '' so miu-li bus-
iness on hand they could not attend to it," but the
settlers thought they were waiting to have the canal
located before establishing their price.

iri'nHAIM) IMCK.

Hubbard Rice was born in Pompey, Onondaga coun-


ty, July 28tli, 1795. He removed with his father to
the town of Murray, and settled on a lot adjoining
the Tillage of Holley, in May 1812. His father, Mr.
William Rice, continued to reside on this place until
about the year 1830, he went to Ohio to reside with
his children, and died there.

Hubbard Rice lived with his father until 1825, then
he moved to the south part of Clarendon, where he
remained until he removed to Holley in 1864, where
he still resides, 1871.

After Lewiston was burned in the late war with
England, Mr. Hubbard Rice, then a boy of eighteen
years, volunteered as a soldier and served a campaign
on the Niagara Frontier.

Coming to Holley when a boy, he grew up to man-
hood there, seeing and sharing in all the toils, dan-
gers, hardships and privations which the settlers en-

He has been spared to a lipe old age to witness the
founding, growtli and development of a beautiful vil-
lage on a spot he has seen when it w^as a native forest
covered with mighty hemlocks, through which now
by canal, railroad and telegraph, the commerce and
intelligence of the world are flowing.


Chauncey Robinson was born in Durham, Connect-
icut, January 5th, 1792. When he was two years
old he was carried with his father's family to Sauquoit,
Oneida county, N. Y., where, to use his own words,
'' I was educated in a district school, and graduated,
at twelve years of age, between the plow han-

He removed to Clarendon, Orleans county, and set-
tled about two miles south of Farwell's Mills, July
1813; cleared a farm and carried it on until May, 1851,


he removed to Holley, where lie resided until his
death, which took place ]\Iay 8th, 1866.

In the war with England in 1814, he was called out
Avith the other inhabitants of the frontier generally to
aid in repelling the British who were then besieging
Fort Erie.

He was several months in this service ; was in the
battle and sortie at Fort Erie, Septembei" 17th, 1814,
whicli was the last battle of tln^ war fought on this

A^ery few families had located in Clarendon when
Mr. Robinson went thci-c. IL* began in the woods,
built a log house, and all its fixtures, furniture and
surroundings, wer(^ in tlx' primitive st^de of those

He was a man of ardent temperament, a lluent and
earnest talker in private conversation or public de-
bate, noted for liis intense hatred of slavery and op-
pression, and his love of freedom and free govern-
ment, and for his zeal in the cause of temperance.
Upon this and kindred topics he frequently wrote ar-
ticles for the newspapers.

He was an active man in organizing the town of
Clarendon, laying out and opening highways, and loca-
ting school districts, frequently holding public office
as the gift of his fellow townsmen. He was Supervisor
of Clarendon four years in succession. He was an
oi'iginal and free thinker on those subjects of public
policy which excited his attention, enforcing his doc-
trines with a y.oii] which some of his opponents thought

In his personal habits he was industrious, frugal
and temperate. When ho was an old man hi^ said :
"I have never used one pound of tea, coffee, or to-
bacco, and comparativcl}^ little liquor ; none for the
last thirty yeai's; not even cide]-. My constant drink
at liome and abroad is cold water."


Hiram Frisbie was Lorn in (Iranville, N. Y.. Aug.,
1791. lie lirst came to Orleans county with a view of
taking the job of buikling the embankm(^nt for the
Ei'ie Canal, at lioUey. Failing in this he went witli
his brother-in-law, William Pierpont, to Farwell's
Mills in the town of Clai-endon, and 0})ened a store
there in 1821. They sold goods and made pot and
pearl, ashes there. Pier})ont also keeping tavern seve-
ral years, when Pierpont sold out the whole business
to Mr. Frisbie, who maiuig^d it ail alone several
years, until tlit' insolvency of some leading merchants
in Holley made an o|)ening for his business there,
he then closed out i?i Clarendon and moved to lioUey
to reside about the year 1828 or 1829.

In connexion with Mr. James Seymour of Clarkson,
he bought: all the unsold land in lIolhT, of a one
Imndred acre tract, which had been taken up origi-
nally by Mr. Areo\ester Hamlin.

xVt Holley he sold goods as a mei'chant, built hous-
es, sold village lots, bought produce, opened streets,
and became wealthy from the rise in ]>i'ice of liis
lands and the profits of his trade.

He was appointed postmaster soon at'ttM- 1h^ came
to Holley, an office he held fifteen years.

Some years ago he was thrown from his carriage
while driving some high spirited horses, several of his
bones broken, and was so badly injured as to r^nider
iiim incapa,ble of active bodily lal)orj as ]>efor('. He
still resides in Holley, one of the few old men yet re-
maining who settled here before the canal was made,
enjoying in ipiiet tiie avails of a long life of busy in-
dustiy and sagacious investment.


.lac(;b Hinds was l.)i)rn in llv town of Arlington,


Benniugton county, Yt. He settled in the. town of
Murray in 1829, and bought a farm wliich liad been
taken up by article from the State of Connecti(;ut b}^
Jared Luttenton.

The Erie Canal passes through this farm. Boating
on the canal was then brisk, and no station between
Albion and Hulberton was established at which boat-
men could get their supplies.

Mr. Hinds built a grocer}^ store and began tliat

It was a good location from which to ship wheat,
which began to be produced in considerable quanti-
ties, and Mr. Hinds built a warehouse in 1830.
About this time his brothers Joel, Darius, and Frank-
lin, came on and joined him in business, and being-
active, energetic business men, a little settlement
sprang up around them, which was named Hinds-

Jacob Hinds had been engaged in boating on the
canal and became acquainted with the canal and its
boatmen and men engaged in trafic through it; in 1830
he was appointed Superintendent of Repairs on tht-
western section, an office he held three years.

After an interval of ten years, in 1849 he was elec-
ted one of the State Canal Commissioneis and served
three yeai-s in that capacit}',

Sinc(^ retiring frcmi these offices, Mr. Hinds has
followed farming as his principal occupatioii.


Austin Hay was born in W^inhall, \'ermont, .Vpril
lOth, 1789.

He marri(Hl Polly Chapman, July 23d, 1810. He
moved to the town of Murrav in the winter of

For some years after he came to Murray lie served
as a constabl(\ and being a go(jd talker he ])racticed


pettifogging, or acted as counsel in Justice's courts,
and for a number of years, and until professional
lawyers came in, he did a large business.

After tlie Erie Canal was made navigable he en-
gaged in buying wheat, which he followed some
years, shipping large quantities chiefly from Holley.

He was appointed Judge in the Old Court of Com-
mon Pleas, of Orleans count}', an office lie held five

He was elected Sheriff of Orleans county in No-
vember, 1847, nnd held the office three j^ears. In
Januar}', 1848, he removed to Albion, where until
within a few years he lias resided. He was Supervi-
sor of Barre in 1852.

Bis wife died October 15th, 1858, which broke up
his family, and since then he has resided in the fami-
ly of his son, F. A. Day, in Albion, and lately with
his daughter, Mi's. Buell, in Holle}', relievfHl from the
cares and anxieties of business.


Elijah W. AVood was born in Pelham, Mass.,
April 22d, 1782. He removed to the town of Murray
at an early day, where for many years he served as
Constable and Justice of the Peace, and during one
term of five years he was Judge in the Old Court of
Common Pleas of Orleans count}'.

He was a shrewd and successful pettifogger in jus-
tices' courts, where he made u]) in wit and natural
sagacity any lack hv may have suft'ered in legal at-
tainments. He died in Murray at the age of eighty


"I was born in St. Johnsbury, Vermont, in 1795.
My father nnnoved with his family, including myself,


to Leroy, New York, in 1816. We were twenty-one
days on the journey.

I came to Murray in 1817, and taught school in
district No. 8, in a log house in which a family re-
sided at the time. My wages was nine shillings a
week and boarded among my patrons. I taught
eight months during which time I was happy and
fared well.

While I was boarding at the house of David Gould,
in the winter time, his stock of fodder for his cattle
gave out and he was obliged to feed them with
'browse,' and to save them from starving on such
fare he went to Victor, Ontario County, and bought a
load of corn for his cattle. His brother-in-law brought
the corn to Murray on a sleigh with two horses,
and arrived at Mr. Gould's house late in the evening
of a cold and stormy night.

There was no stable nearer than Sand}' Creek, three
miles, where the horses could be sheltered. Mr.
Gould's house had but one room, but it was conclud-
ed to keep the hoi'ses there over night. Mr. Gould
and wife occupied a bed in a corner of the room, two
girls and myself liad our bed with its foot at the side
of Mr. Gould's bed, and the hoi-ses stood in the other
corner and ate their corn, and thus w(^ all slept that
night as we could.

I married Artemas Daggett, February 14th, 1819,
and commenced house-keeping on the farm where I
now reside, September, 1870.

Mr. Daggett died in 1831 and left me with three
small children and one hundred acres of land, owing
about nine hundred dollars. In two years I raised
the money and paid our debts and took a deed of the

About this tim«^ I married Isaac Smith, with whom
I lived in peace and plenty until his death in Au-
gust, 186G.


During a great sickness at Sandy Creek, Mr. Brace,
liis wife, and six children resided there. One of liis
daughters fell sick and went to the house of a doc-
tress in town to be treated. Others of the children
were taken ill. Mr. Brace was notified that his
daughter under the doctress' care was much worse
and he went to see her. She died and he was taken
down sick and could not go home. In the mean
time a son at home died. Mrs. Brace had taken sole
care of him in his sickness, and while watching his
corpse the dead body of Mr. Brace was brought
home and fatlier and son buried at the same time.
The other sick ones recovered.

At this time Mr. Aretas Pierce, Sr., who lived foui*
miles away, came and found the Brace fanuly misera-
bly poor, and destitute of all the comforts and most
( >f the necessaries of life. He went about and got a
contribution, and next da}' the pressing wants of the
family were sup})lied b}' the benevolent settlei'S

Murr,i\-, Se{neinbi;r, 18TU.


Alanson ManstieUl was bom in N'tMiuont, Marcli
t)th, 179::^.

With an ax which constituted his whole i)ersonal es-
tate, lie came into tlie town of Murra}' in the yeai-
1814, and hired out to woi'k, clio})ping until he earned
enough to take an article of lot number two hundred
and nineteen, a little north of llindsburgh. He then
ivturiK-d to A'ermonl to ])ring his father's family to
settle (m his laiid. They started from Vermont, his
father and mother and six children, Alanson be-
ing oldest of the children, — with a p-air of horsep
and a sleigli, in which was a barrel of pork
and somt* meal, a few household noods and the fami-


ly. A milch cow was led behind. The pork and
meal and milk of the cow supplied most of their pro-
visions on the road, and helped sustain them after
arriving in Murray, until they could otherwise be

They arrived in the winter of 1815, put iqi a log
house for a dM'elling, and began clearing the timber
from a piece of land, and the iirst season planted
the corn from four ears among the logs, from which
they raised a good crop.

He married Polly Hart, in Murra}^, October 14th.
1817. Her father settled near where Murray depot
now stands, in 1816.

He united with the Baptist church in Holley, in
1831. The next year the Gaines and Murray Baptist
church on the Transit was fonned, and Mr. Mansfield
united with tliem and was chosen deacon. He was a
worthy, honored and good man, and died respected
by all who knew him, September 30th, 1850.


Abner Balcom Avas born in Richlield, Otsego Co.,
N. Y., September 15, 1796, and brought up in Hope-
well, Ontario county.

He married Ruth Williams, of Hopewell, March,
1816. She died in March, 1822.

In the fall of 1822, he married Philotheta Baker.
She died February 7th, 1865, and for his tliird wife
he married Mrs. Philena Waring.

In the fall of 1812, in company with his older
brother, Horace, and two other men, he chopped over
twenty -two acres on lot one hundred and ninety-two,
which Horace had purchased, and on which he set-
tled in the spiing of 1816, and where he died. This
was the first clearing in Murray, on this line between
the Ridge and Clarendon.

Mr. Abner Balcom first settled in the town of


Ridgeway, on the farm now or lately owned by Gros-
venor Daniels, to whom he sold it and removed to
Murray "before the canal was made.

In compan}^ with Mr. Hiel Brockway he built the
dam and mills on the west branch of Sandy Creek,
on lot one hundred and ninety-five, near which he
has ever since resided.

These mills, a sawmill and gristmill, are known
as "Balcom's Mills,'' and in them Mr. Balcom has
always retained an interest.

Mr. Balcom has always been much respected
among- his fellow townsmen. He has held all the
town offices except clerk. He served as Suj^ervisor
of Murray in 1847-8. He is an influential and consis-
tent member of the Transit Baptist church, in which
he has been deacon.

. His son, Francis Balcom, was among the volunteers
who went into the Union Army in the first years of
the great rebellion, and was killed in battle while
gallantly lighting to save the country which the in-
structions of his father and the instincts of his own
nature had taught him to love.


Reuben Bryant was born at Templeton, Worces-
ter county, Massachusetts, July IStli, 1792. He
graduated at Brown University, Rhode Island, about
the year 1816.

After some time spent in teaching, he removed to
Livingston county, N. Y., and studied law in the of-
fice of the late Judge Smith, in Caledonia. Having
been admitted to the bar of the Supreme Court, he
settled to practice his profession in Holley about
the year 1823, in whicli village he was the pioneer

In the fall of 1849 he removed to Albion, and in
1855 he removed to Buffalo to aid his only son, Wil-


liam C. Bryant, u lisiiig young law3-er just getting
into practice in tliat cit}-.

He was appoint(^cl Master in Chancery by Governor
Silas Wright, an office he lield when the Conrt of
Chancery was abolished nndei' tlie Constitution of

He was a thorougli cUissical scholar, and had liis
mind well stored with Greek and Latin lore, which lie
delighted to quote in social moments with his friends
when circumstances made it proper.

As a la wj^er he had a clear perception of the law
and the facts, and of their bearing in his cases ; but
he was too exact, cautious, and diffident of himself
to be an advocate. All his life he suffered from a
malady which was a perpetual burden and cross to
him, and annoyed him in his business. He died in
Buffalo in January, 1863.



Areovcster Uamlin — First Store — Post Office — Frisbie & Seymour-
Early Merchants — First Sawmill — Lawyer — Tavern — Justice ot
the Peace— Salt Brine — ]Mammoth Tooth— Salt Port — Presbyterian
Church — Salt Spring.

OLLEY, situate in the town of Murray, is
a village which owes its existence to the Erie
Canal. The site of this village was originally
covered \nth a heavy growtli of hemlock trees. These
were mostly standing when the canal was surveyed
through, hut it being apparent a town must grow up
liere, a vigorous settlement had been begun when
work on the great embankment was commenced.

Areovester Hamlin took up one hundred acres of
land of the State of Connecticut, which included most
of the present village of Holley, about the the year
1820, and immediately commenced clearing off the
timber and laid out a village.

Col. Ezra Brainard was the contractor who built
the embankment for the canal over Sandy Creek, and
while that work was progressing settlers came in and
began to build up the place.

Mr. Hamlin erected a store in which he traded. He
built an ashery and carried on that business ; he also
built the first warehouse on the canal.

To help his village, and accommodate the settlers
who were coming in, he got a j^ost office established
here of which he was first postmaster. He was an

OF OliLKANS (orXTV. 805

enterprising, active business man, but attempted to
do more business than his means would permit, and
failed. All his propert}^ was sold out by tlw Slierift"
about the year 1828 or 1829.

Ml". John W. Strong opened a store here a little af-
ter Mr. Hamlin, and Ik? also failed about the time Mr.
Hamlin did, when Hiram Fi'isbie and James Seymour
purchased ail the real estate tliat Hamlin liad liot
sold to other settlers.

Mr. Frisbie came here in 1828 and opened a store
and connnenced selling goods, a business in which he
has more or less been engaged ever since.

Mr. Frisbie l)ouglit out the interest of Mv. Seymour
many years ago, and he has sold out the greater pail
of his tract of land into village lots.

Among the early merchants, aftei- thos(> named,
Avere Mower and "Wardwell, and Selby & Xewell.
Alva Hamlin, Geo. A. Porter, S. Stedman, and E.
Taylor Yv'ere carpenters and joiners, who settled here
in an. early day. John Avery and brother were the
first blacksmiths. Samuel Cone Avas the first shoe-
maker. Dr. McClough first 2)hysician.

Harley N. Bushnell l)uilt a sawmill on the creek
north of the canal, in 1824.

Reuben Bryant settled as a lawyer in Holley about
the time the canal was made and was the first lawyer.
John Onderdonk was the first tailor.

A man by the name of Samuel Cone built and kept
a tav(^rn where the Mansion House now stands ; and
a Mr. Barr built and kept another tavern house, a
little west of the Mansion House. Both of these
taverns were l^efore the Canal was navigabl(>.

Turner was the first Justice of the Peace.

The Presbyterian and Baptist meeting houses were
built in 1831.

Major AVilliam Allis came here as a clerk in the
store of John AY. Strong. After the closing out of


Mr. Stjong's biusiness Maj. Allis carried on biisiiies.s
iis a i)rodiK'e dealer and served a term as Sheriff of
Orleans Connty.

Salt Avas found in the ra\ine on the bank of the

Some years after the canal was dug, Erastiis Cone
bored for stronger brine to a depth of nearly one
hundred feet, near the old spring, but tlie result did
not warrant his making salt there and none has been
made since.

The first school housc^ in the yillage of Holler" was
made of logs, about the year 1815, and stood not far
from the present railroad depot. It had no arrange-
ments for making a fire in it, and was used for a
school only in the summer, for several years. The
first teacher in this school was Lydia Thomas, after-
wards Mrs. Henr}' Hill.

When laborers were excavating and building the
canal embankment, a tooth of some huge animal, a
mammoth, perhaps, was dug np. The tooth was a
grinder, and weighed two pounds and two ounces.
No other bones of such a creature have been found,
and it has been conjectured this tooth must have been
shed there by the animal to whicli it belonged, when
it came after salt. It is now in the State collection in

Holley was sometimes called ' Salt Port,' by tlie
boatmen : but that name was soon dropped for Hol-
ley, a name given to the village in honor of Myron
Holley, one of the Canal Commissioners, wlieii tlu'
canal was dug.

On the 5th of .lanuary, 1819, a Congregational
Church was orgjinized at the village of Sandy Creek,
in Murray, which was distinguished as the ' Congre-
gational Clmrcli of Sandy Creek.' July 13, 1881, by
act of the Pr(>sl)ytery of Rochester, this Church was
united with the Presbyterian Church in Clarendon,

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 21 of 32)