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 5 of 32)
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nortli to Waterport which is now the road leading
from Eagle Harbor to Waterport,

An Act of the Legislature was passed April 2, 1827,
appointing John P. Patterson, Almon H. Millerd and
Otis Turner, commissioners to locate and lay out a
public highway, four rods wide, leading from Roch-
ester to Lockport, " on, or near the banks of the Erie
Canal." A highway was located and laid by said
commissioners, Jesse P. Haines, of Lockport, being
the surveyor, pursuant to said Act. For most of the
way said liighway was laid on tin? south side of the
Canal. The records of said sui"v-ey and highway
were tiled in the County Clerk's offices, and in the
several towns througli which it passed, and the road
establishetl Oct. 1, 1827. The law required the com-
missioners of highways in the several towns, to open
the road to travel ; and it was done b}^ them along
the most of the line where the public convenience re-
quired it. Considerable of this road was never open-


ed, and the franchise was suffered to be lost to the
public by non-user.

This was known as the State Road. Through the
village of Albion, it is called State Street.



3IecliDa and Darien — ^ledina and Lake Ontario — Rochester, Lockport
and Niagara Falls.

AY 5, 1834, an Act of tlie Legislature was
passed incorporating the Medina and Darien
Railroad Company, to construct a Railroad ;
and the road was built from Medina to Aliron, in Erie
County, twelve or fourteen miles, and fitted for cars,
to be drawn by horses. It went into operation about
1836. After a short trial, it was found to be an un-
profitable investment, the track was taken up, and
the road discontinued.

This was the first Railroad incorporated to be made
in this county.

Li 1836, the Medina and Ontario Railroad Company
was incorporated by the Legislature, to construct a
Railroad between Medina and Lake Ontario, at the
mouth of Oak Orchard Creek. ISTothing further was
ever done towards ojoening tliis road.

The Rochester, Lockport and Niagara Falls Rail-
road Co. was organized December 10, 1850. It passes
through the county near the Erie Canal on the south
side. This road has since been consolidated in the
New York Central Railroad, by which name it is
now knoAvn, its original corporate name being drop-

The construction of this Railroad has proved of im-
mense benefit to Orleans County.



School Houses — Description — Gaines Academy — Other Academics and

ETTLERS on the Holland Purchase reverenced
the institutions existing in New England, from
wliicli the majority of them came, and endeav-
ored to engraft them npon their social organization in
tlieir new homes in the woods. Tliey I)elieved the
safety and permanence of the free govennnent of ihoAr
country was found in the intelligence of the people ;
and among tlieir first labors, after providing shelter
and food for their children, was the building of school
houses and furnishhig instruction there. Before
enough families liad located in a neighborhood to
erect even a log school house and supply it with
scholars, it was not uncommon for a school to be
opened in some log cabin, where a family resided. —
All the children in the neighborliood came in, or were
brought ux^on the backs of their fathers through the
pathless forest, when the weather was bad, and at-
tended these schools. Scliool houses were built, and
well patronized, before school districts were organized,
and parents did tlie best they could to give their
children the elements of a common education, at least.
Orleans County was not behind any part of the
countiy in its zeal for schools. Tiie earlier school
houses were made of logs, much after the same pat-
tern as the dweih'ng places of th(^ people, such struc-


tures as would now he considered extrenK^^ly iincotu-
fortable, inconvenient and ill adapted to the })nri)08e
for wliicli tlK\y were nuidr.

They were badly lighted, badly ventilated, small,
cold, cheerless and dismal places. Every internal ai -
rangement was nncomfortabl*^ compared with school
houses now. But nobody complained. '

After a few years this state of things improved. Ai-
population increased, and wealth began to accumu-
late, better accommodations were procured.

The people of the town of Gaines, living along tlieir
beautiful natural Ridge Road, believed trade and
business for the county must center there ; and before
the county buildings were located at Albion, they be-
gan to devise projects for l)uilding up a village there,
which should insure to them the full benefit of the lo-
cation. They had several stores, and mechanic shops.
They established a printing press, and published the
first neAvsjiaper in the county, and proposed to found
an Academy. The locatit)n of the Court House at Al
bion was to them a sad disappointment, they did not
despair, however, but established their Academy,
which was incorporated in the 3'ear 1827, This was
the first incorporated literary institution in Orleans
County. A brick building, three stories high, was
erected by the joint efforts of the school district, and
the friends of the Academy and f(U' some years it was
occupied by both schools, Tlie Acadenn^ was well
patronized, while it was without a rival, but when
Academies were erected in other towns in the neigh-
borhood, Gaines Academy began to languish, and fi-
nally ceased to exist as a school. The building wat?
fitted up as a dwelling house, and as such still re-
mains. Academies wer«^ established at Albion in
1837, at Millville in 1840, at Yates in 1842, at Medina
in 1849, at Holley in 1850. The Phipps Union Semi-
nary was established at Albicm abo'it 1888, and in-


corporated by the Regents of the University in 1840.
This Seminary is a boarding and day school for the
instruction of girls only. Its course of study includes
all the solid and ornamental branches of education
usually taught in the best schools for females in this
country. It is one of the oldest institutions of the
Idnd in this part of the State, and has sustained a
high reputation.



Reli^ous Feeling among the People — Ministers and Missionaries —
Meeting House in Gaines — First in County — Building.

ELIGION was not forgotten by the first set-
tlers of Orleans County, and amid all their
hardships and difhculties, they never omitted
attending to the public worship of God. For some
years they had no church organizations, or settled
ministers of the gospel, or houses built expressly for
places of public worship. They had religious meet-
ings however in their log cabins, sometimes conduct-
ed by a preacher, sometimes with none. As soon as
school houses were built, they held their meetings in
them. Though mau}^ of the settlers were members of
Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, or other denomina-
tions, in the old States, from which they came, here
they kept up no denominational distinction. If it
was announced that a religious meeting was to be held
in some place, everybody for miles around attended
it, never stopping to inquire to what denomination
the preacher belonged. Many old people remember
with deep emotion some of those solemn seasons of
prayer and praise, enjoyed by them in company with
all those who loved God and his worship, in their
neighborhood, in some little log shanty in the woods.
As the first settlement of the county began on the
lake shore in Carlton, and gradually extended along
the Ridge Road, so religious meetings were held first
in Carlton.


About the year 1809, Rev. Mr. Stei^le, a Methodist
preacher, came over from Canada and visited as a
missionary tliose settlers, who had come into Carlton,
and preached to them whenever he could get a con-
gregation together. He is said to have been tlie iirst
preacher of any denonunation. He was soon follow-
ed b}^ Elders Irons, Butcher, and Carpenter, Bax)tists;
and Puffer, Hall, Gregory, and others, Methodists.

Before 1820, a Baptist church was formed in Gaines,
a Congregational churcli in Barre, another in Ridge-
way, and from that time forward, the people united
in such church organizations as were agreeable to
their views of religious truth and duty, instead of
those conmion meetings of all, which prevailed at an
earlier day.

In the year 1824, a company of citizens of Gfaines,
viz: Oliver Booth, 2d, Elisha Mchols, Elijah D.
Nichols, James Mather, YanRensselaer Hawkins,
Elijah Blount, Jonathan Blount, Jr., Zelotes Sheldon,
John J. Walbridge, Romeyii Ostrander and Asahel
Lee, united together and built the meeting house now
standing in the west part of tlie village, '* for the ben-
ellt of the Congregational and Baptist Societies in the
town of Gaines, each society to use the same for one-
half of the time alternately. When not occupied by
said societies, to be free for public worship for any
other religious society." The proprietors sold the
slips in the house, and gave the purchase money, af-
ter paying for building the house, to aid in ])uilding
Gaines Academy.

This was the first church edifice erected in Orleans
County. For several years it was occupied according
to the intent of the founders. It has now been trans-
ferred to a Methodist society.



Mount Albion Cemetery — Boxwood Cemetery — Hillside Cemetery.

URYING places for the dead were established
ill coiiveiiient localities, in the early settlement
of Orleans County. One of the oldest of these
is at the village of Gaines, on the Ridge Road. Mr.
Oliver Booth, who owned the land, gave half an a(;re,
on condition that the neighl)oring inhabitants would
clear off tho trees with which it was covered, which
they did.

Tinder tli(^ statute in such Case made, many of these
rural old burying places have been put under the care
of Cemetery Associations, duly incorporated under
the general law. Others have been vested in the
towns in which they are situated, under an old law,
which provided that burying grounds, which before
th grounds have been devoted as burial places.
The most considera])le of these is "Mount Albiox
Cemetehy," situate two miles south-east from the vil-
lage of Albion. This burying place, including about
twenty-five iicres, was purchased by the village of Al-
bion, in May. 1848, for $1,000. It was then an un-
broktm forest. The natural advantages of this Ceme-
tery, for the ])ur])osc; designed, can scarcely ha equal-


eel b}' aiiY similar grounds in the country. It was
dedicatecl/Sept. 7, 1843.

Before Mount Albion was purchased, a burying
g round was used on the south side of th(^ canal, east
of the creek, in Albion. The bodies have all been re -
moved from that ground, and burying there discon-

From the lirst, and until 1862, Mount Albion Cem-
etery was under the care of the Trustees of the village.
By an Act passed March 26, 1862, the control of the
Cemeteiy was vested in three commissioners, to be ap-
pomted by the village Trustees. Dr. Lemuel C. Paine,
Lorenzo Burrows and Henry J. Sickels, were aj^point-
ed such commissioners, and they have been ever since
continued in office. Lots in this Cemetery are sold to
whoever will buy, the purchasers not being confined
to inhabitants of the village of Albion, and owners of
lots reside in every town in the county.

The first persons dying in Medina, were buried
wdierever their friends could find a place ; but in the
fall of 1830, Mr. David E. Evans, by his agent Mr.
Gwynn, gave an acre of land for a burying ground, on
the east side of Gwynn Street, south from the railroad
depot, on which the first corpse buried was the wife of
Edmund Fuller, in 1830.

These grounds have been used for bui'ials ever since.
In 1860, Mr. John Parsons interested himself in get-
ting the fences around these grounds repaired, with
contributions furnished him for the purpose ; and in
order suitably to mark the spot, by some fitting mem-
orial, which at small expense would be likely to stand
many yi^ars ; he procured and planted, as near as
might be, in the center of the grounds, a fir tree, un-
der the center of which, in a glass jar, inclosed in lead,
he deposited various articles, as mementos of the times
and people of Medina at present. This tree is now
growing vigorously.


"Box^vooD Cemetery" lies a littlo north of Medi-
na, on the east side of the gravel road leading to the
Ridge, and contains about six acres, and is owned by
the village of Medina. Messrs. S. M. Burroughs,
Geo. Northroi^, Caleb Hill and others, bought this
ground while a forest, of Mr. Gwynn, for a Cemetery,
in 1848. They sold it to the village for $600, and
it was laid out in lots, and formally opened for
burial purposes, in 1850. David Card was the iirst
person buried here, in 1849.

Many bodies of the dead buried in the old ground
in Medina, have been reniovt^d to Boxwood Cemetery,
and this is now the principal burying jilace for the
village and vicinity.

"Hillside Cemetery" is the name of a burying
place belonging to "The Holby Cemetery Associa-
tion," which was organized Dec. 11, 1866. In Jan.,
1867, the association purchased about seven and three-
fourths acres of land, Ij^ing about half a mile south o"
the business part of Holley village, and south of the
corporation limits, at a cost of $1 ,100. A large
sum has since then been expended by the Association
in improving these grounds, grading the street, and
ornamenting and fitting up the premises.

A large part of this burying place has been laid out
in lots, carefully numbered, mapped and the map tiled
in the County Clerk's office. These lots are sold by
the Trustees and deeded to purchasers.

August 17, 1867, this Cemetery was formally dedi-
cated b}" appropriate I'eligious ceremonies.

The affairs of the Association are managed 1)}' nine
Trustees, who serv(^ in classes, three years. Trustees
now in office, (1871,) are John Beny, Sargent Ensign,
Nelson Hatcli, James Gibson, Samuel Spear, Humph-
rey Ruggles, Simon Ilarwood, Ely H. Cook and Or-
ange A. Eddy. John B'.M'iy, President, Orange A.
Eddy, Secretary.


Shade trees liave beeii set ai'oinid the grounds and
man}' trees and ornamental shrubs planted.

The soil is ^vell adai)ted to the purpose designed. —
The location is pleasant and commodious to the vil-
lage of Holley and surrounding country and the
good taste and liberality displayed by the people of
IloUey and vicinity in founding and fostering tliis
Cemetery is creditable to their public spirit, refined
feelings and proper regard for- their best interests.



First settled along Oak Orchard Koad — Land Givcu by the Holland
Company to Congregational Societ}' — Congregational Church — Pres-
byterian Church in Albion — First Tavern — First Store — First Law-
yer — First Doctor — First Deed of Land to Settler — Deeds of Land in
Albion — First House in Albion — Death of Mrs. McCallister — First
Warehouse — First Saw Mill — First Grist Mill — Trade in Lumber —
First Ball— First Town Meeting— Fourth of July, 1821— First Wed-
ding in Albion — Story — Biographies of Early Settlers.

HIS town, so named by Judge John Lee, in
honor of Barre, Mass., his native town, was
V^ r set otF from (xaines, by Act of the Legislature,
March C, 1818. At the time of the first settlement of
this tow^i, the main road, by which peojjle traveled to
and from the old States, was the Ridge road. The
Ridgo was always dry and comfortable for travel
when the streams, which cross it, could be forded, be-
fore the bridg(?s were made ; but on leaving the Ridg«?
north or south, wdien th(^ ground was not frozen, the
roads were terribly muddy, long tracts of low land
requiring to be covered with logs laid transversely
side by side for a carriage track, called " corduroy.''''
As this was a work of considerable labor, the settlers
had to wallow through the mud as best they could,
imtil they were able to build their highways.

There were no sawmills, and even if there had been
mills, upon such roads lumber could not be moved to
market, and there was no market for lumber south of
the Ridge, before the canal was dug.

The Indians liad a trail, or Indian road, from their


settlements in Livingston count}^ on tlie Genesee riv-
er, to an Indian village in Niagara county ; and an-
other trail from the mouth of Oak Orchard Creek, to
intersect the first mentioned trail, which was used \iy
white men and known as the Oak Orcliard Road,
passing through Barre, from north to south. On this
trail or road, the travel to Batavia was conducted. —
It was not passable for carriages, as the Indians had
none, and the settlers had to clear the brush and re-
move the fallen trees, which obstructed, before they
could get their teams through. This was done by the
Holland Company at an early day.

Several families came into Barre before the war of
1812, but that event nearly suspended emigration
while it lasted.

Salt was made on the Oak Orchard Creek north of
Medina, before the canal was made ; and to accom-
modate the people and benefit themselves, the Holland
Company opened a road from the Salt Works, in a
south-easterly direction, to intersect thc^ Oak Orchard
Road, about two miles south of Albion. This was
known as the " Salt Works Road" and was discon-
tinued many years ago.

Among the inducements offered b}' th(^ Land Com-
pany to settlers on their lands, was an off'er of a tract
of land, to the first religious societ^y that should be
organized in each town on their Purchase. In pursu-
ance of this custom, the Holland Company deeded,
March cS, 1822, to the Trustees of "The First Congre-
gational Society in the town of Barre," one hundred
acres of land, lying on the north part of lot nineteen,
town fifteen, range two ; being part of the farm after-
wards cleared and owned by ^Izariah Loveland. —
The deed conveys this land to said "Trustees and
their successors in office, for the benefit of the said
Congregational order, and those who preacli the doc-
trines contain(Ml in the Assembly's Catechism, and no


other." So careful were our fathers in Barre, to pro-
vide for keeping their religious faith pure, and free
from heresy, as they regarded it. That religious so-
ciety was the first organized in Barre, and still exists,
now located at Barre Center. Its first board of Trus-
tees was Orange Starr, Cyril Wilson, Ithamar Hib-
"bardjJohn Bradner, Caleb C.Thurston and Oliver Ben-
ton. The church connected with this society, was or-
ganized Dec. o, 1817.

"The First Presbyterian Society of Albion" was
incorporated March 20, 1826, and was the second re-
ligious society incorporated in the town of Barre, and
the first in the village of Albion. Its first Trustees
were Harvey Goodrich, Joseph Hart, Ebenezer Rogers,
William White, Hiram Sickels, and Milton W. Hop-
kins. Their first house of worsliip, the same now oc-
cupied by the Episcopalians, was erected in 1830.—
The whole number of communicants, in this church
at its organization, was sixteen. Rev.AVm. Johnson,
their first pastor, commenced his laboi'S here in 1824.

The first tavern in Barre was kept by Abram Mat-
tison, in 1815, on the west side of the Oak Orchard
Road, about two miles south of Albion. The first

tavern in Albion was kept by Churchill, on the

soutli corner of ^Main and Canal Streets. The first
school was taught by Mrs. Silas Benton, in the south
part of what is now tlie village of Albion.

The first store, for the sale of dry goods and grocer-
ies, is believed to have been kept by E. & A. Mix, at
Porter's Corners. Mr. Abiatliar Mix removed to that
place, and took an Article for a tract of land, in 1817.
Being a mason by trade, and having no mason work
to do, he went into the business of making potash,
and selling goods, his brother, Ebenezer Mix, of Ba-
tavia, furnishing a part of the capital.

About the year 1819, a store was opened by Orris


H. Gardner, near Benton's Corners, on tlie Oak Orch-
ard Road.

The Oak Orchard Road was the tirst piil)lic high-
way hiid ont in this town. About 1803, the Holland
Company caused a survey to be made of this road
from ''The Five Corners," in Gaines, about a mile
north of Albion, to the forks of the road south of Bar-
re Center. Tliis survey was due nortli and south, to
straighten the old trail. The highway was not open-
ed and worked precisely as laid.

Many of the earliest locations of land by settlers
were made along this road, and it was these locations,
this highway and the Erie Canal, which established
the village of Albion.

The first regular lawyer in this town was Theoplii-
lus Capen, v/ho came here about the time work on
the Canal was begun, and kept an office for a while
in Albion. William J. Moody came to Albion to
practice law, a short time before the county of Orleans
was organized, he was followed by Alexis AA'ard,
Henry R. Curtis, A. Hyde Cole, Geo. AV. Fleming
and several others.

Dr. Orson Nichoson was the first physiciaiL He
settled in Barre in 1819.

The first deed of land lying in the town of Barre,
from the Holland Land Company, was given to Jacob
Young, dated June 7, 1813, and (conveyed one hun-
dred acres of lot thirty-tlir(M^, town fifteen, range one.
This land is now owned by Stephen N. Whitney, and
lies about a mile and a half south from Albion, on
the east side of the Oak Orchard Road.

William Bradner took a deed from the Company,
of the land in Albion, on the east side of Main Street,
from Bailey Street, to the north bounds of Barre,
December 3, 1819, containing two liundred and sixty-
six acres. Roswell Burrows took a like d(^ed of on(5
hundred and sixty-one acn^s, lying on the west side


of Main Street, bounded north by the town line of
Gaines, October 11, 1825. This tract, so deeded to
Burrows, was taken np by Article from the Company
by Jesse Bumpns, in August, 1815, and afterwards
sold by him to Mr. Burrows. The land so deeded to
AVilliam Bradner, was taken by Article from the Land
Company, by William McCollister, about the year
1811. Mr. McCollister made the llrst clearing in the
village of Albion, where the Court House now stands,
The first dwelling house erected in Albion was a log
cabin, built by McCollister, near where Phipps Union
Seminary now stands. In that he lived, and there his
wife died, about the year 1812 ; being the first white
woman who died in the town of Barre. No clergy-
man was then in town to conduct religious services
on the occasion and no boards could be obtained to
make her coffin. Her sorrowing husband, assisted by
two or three men, split and hewed some rough planks
from trees, pinned them together with wooden pins,
to make a box, in which the corpse was placed, and
buried, this little company, present at this iirst funer-
al, comprised almost the entire pojndation of the

The first warehouse in town was built b}' Nehemiah
Ingersoll, on the canal, about fifteen rods east of Main
Street, in Albion.

The first saw-mill in town was built by Dr. Wm.
AVliite, on the creek south-east of Albion, about eighty
rods south of the railroad, in the year 181(5. AVilliam
Bradner built a small grist-mill on this creek, farther
down, in 1819.

For several years after the Erie Canal was first
opened, a brisk trade in white-wood lumber was car-
ried on, from timber cut convenient to draw to the ca-
nal. Good whitewood boards sold on the bank of the
canal for $5 per thousand feet, and other lumber at
corresponding prices. Whitewood was a common


tree in tliis town. The lumber was carried to Albany.
After buildings began to be constructed by carpenters
and joiners, the Hoors and finishing were principally
done with whitewood.

The first regular luill in Barre was at Mattison's
tavern, July 4, 1819. To fit the house for the party,
they took up the split basswood floor and laid down
boards in the bar-room to dance on.

The first town meetings, after this town was organ-
ized, were held at Mattison's tavern, the next after-
wards at Benton's tavern.

The 4th of July, 1821, was celebrated by the peo-
ple of Barre in a grove near where " the round school

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 5 of 32)