Arad Thomas.

Sketches of village of Albion : containing incidents of its history and progress, from its first settlement, and a statistical account of its trade, schools, societies, manufactures, &c. online

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Online LibraryArad ThomasSketches of village of Albion : containing incidents of its history and progress, from its first settlement, and a statistical account of its trade, schools, societies, manufactures, &c. → online text (page 1 of 3)
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WiLLSBA & Beach, Pubwshers.




THE n:ew York)




Xo BETTER proofs of tho liberal and philanthropic
character of our civil and social institutions in the United
States exist, than in the suddenness with which towns and
cities have sprung up, and the prosperous condition of the
people who inhabit them. The shrewd and restless Yankee,
born among tlae rugged hills of New England, sees that the
fertile soil of the West yields a better return to tillage than
the hard fields of his father ; and that the changes incident
to a new society afford a better range for his ambition, and
richer pay for his exertions, than like labors in older com-
munities receive ; and he leaves the home of his childhood
for a new home and fortune at the West.

To this class of adventurers mainly the Holland Pur-
chase owes its settlement and success. They comprised the
majority of the people; bringing with them the intelligence,
business habits and moral character of their race, they have
ever been found among the foremost in changing the wil-
derness into the abode of civilization.

The first settlers of Albion were chiefly of this stock.
Many of them are yet spared among us. The scenes of
their early history to them are fraught with the deepest
interest, and their children cannot be indifferent in a matter
in which they are so much identified.


The memory of events connected with the settlement
of this village now exists, for the main part, in the recollec-
tion of its old people. Soon these venerable pioneers will
have passed away, and uncertain tradition will be all that is
left of the knowledge of their timeSi

With a view to save from obHvion many important facts
now resting solely on tradition, or the recollection of wit-
nesses, and to furnish the future inquirer with a collected
record, for reference, of statistics of Albion, this little book
has been prepared.

The facts it contains are mostly obtained from the lips
of those who were eye witnesses to what they related, and
from the scanty records of the social organizations among us.

To those persons who have generously assisted him to
obtain information needed for the work, the Author presents
his thankful acknowledgements, and hopes his Book may
find favor in the community for whom it was designed.

Albion, July, 1853-

The village of Albion is situated in the town of
Barre, Orleans county, New York, in latitude 43 degrees
45 minutes North, and 1 degree and 17 minutes West long-
itude from the Capitol at Washington. It lies 85 miles by
the Erie Canal, and 80 miles by Eailroad, west from Koch-
ester. The Erie Canal and the Eochester, Lockport and
Niagara Falls Eailroad, pass through it.

Albion lies two miles south from the Eidge Eoad, that
singular alluvial formation which runs parallel with the
south shore of Lake Ontario, through the western part of
the State, and eight miles from Oak Orchard Harbor, on
Lake Ontario.

The whole county of Orleans was originally included in
the town of Eidgeway. Gaines was taken from Eidgeway
in the year 1816. Barre was set off from Gaines in the
year 1818.

The village of Albion was originally called Newport. Its
name was changed to Albion in the first Act of Incorpora-
tion, which passed the State Legislature, April 21, 1828.

Before the town of Eidgeway was organized, this ter-
ritory formed a part of the town of Batavia, which extend-
ed to the Lake on the North. Eidgeway was from time to
time subdivided into towns, until Orleans county was organ-
ized, Nov. 11, 1824 ; then consisting of the towns of Barre,
Carlton, Clarendon, Gaines, Murray, Eidgeway, Shelby and
Yates. The town of Kendall was set off from Murray in
the year 1834.



In the settlement of Orleans county little progress was
made until the close of the last war with Great Britain.
Its vicinity to the frontier of the State, and the military
operations that were carried on in its neighborhood, retard-
ed the building of mills, the construction of highways, and
the increase of population by immigration. The land was
covered with a heav^y growth of trees, which it required
great labor to clear off. There was but little foreign mar-
ket for the products of the soil, owing to the difficulties of
transportation ; and for considerable time after settlers came
to this region, the only articles they had to send abroad were
black salts and potash, made from the ashes of timber.

Until roads were made through to Eochester and Can-
andaigua, the only outlet to market was by Lake Ontario
to Oswego, on the St. Lawrence ; and the supplies of mer-
chandise for the inhabitants of this countj^, and a large
portion of territory south of this, for a long time came by
water, from the east, to the mouth of Oak Orchard Creek,
from whence they were carried over the Oak Orchard Eoad
to the place of destination. Goods thus obtained were, in
proportion to their present prices, enormously dear, and the
products of the farm furnished in exchange were corres-
pondingly cheap.

The Oak Orchard Road was originally an Indian trail
or path, Avhich they were accustomed to travel in their visits
from the south to Lake Ontario, where they annually resort-
ed to catch fish, which, in the Spring, came up the Oak
Orchard Creek from the Lake ; and the banks of this
stream seemed to have been a favorite, burying place for
this people — as the mounds of earth found there, containing
human bones and Indian implements, Avould go to prove.
This trail or path was traced by the Indians over the dryest
portions of land over which they required to pass, Avithout
much regard to direct lines or the lessening of distance to


be travelled. When white men began to use the road with
carriages, it was found necessary to cut out the trees, con-
struct sluices and causeways over a large part of the way,
as the woodland, covered with thick timber, retained the
water, rendering it very muddy. Land, now the. finest in
the County for agricultural purposes, was then a dismal
swamp. Through a part of what is now Batavia street, the
land was so level and wet, that a causeway of logs was laid
for the convenience of travel, from Canal street north to
the north bounds of the corporation.

About the year 1803, the Holland Company caused a
survey to be made of the Oak Orchard Eoad. By that
survey it was laid due south, from the Five Corners, in
Gaines, to the forks 'of the road south of Barre Center;
straightening, so far, the Indian trail. It was not, however,
opened as laid precisely, Batavia street bearing north 6h
degrees east, through the village.

The first settlements in the town of Barre were made
along the Oak Orchard Road, from its being the first public
highway in town, and affording the only feasible place
where teams could pass between Batavia and the Lake — •
which were then the points between which communication
was mainly to be had. And the location of the village
where it is, must be mainly attributed to this road ; the
natural surface of the land, especially where the main busi-
ness is now transacted, seeming, from its swampy character,
to forbid its selection as a "place for building.

After the organization of Orleans county, the first
County Courts were held at Gaines, in June, 1825. In the
same year the site for the county buildings was located at
Albion, where they now stand, on a lot conveyed for that
purpose by ISTehemiah IngersoU.

The first County Clerk's Office was for some years kept
in a room in the northeast corner of the Court House, and


until the present Clerk's Office was erected, in 1836. The
present Jail edifice was erected in 1838.

The county of Orleans generally was settled by emi-
grants from New England and the eastern part of the State
of New York. The principal business men of Albion are
of this stock, and exhibit a good degree of the enterprise
and industry which characterises their eastern brethren.
Like the early settlers of most western towns, they came
here poor, and have grown with the country, and such pro-
perty as they possess has been made here.

Some of the earlier merchants in Albion, after the Ca-
nal was opened, drove a profitable trade in white wood lum-
ber, which was a common timber in this region. The boards
were carried to Albany, and there found a ready market
and good prices. The lumber trade from Albion is now
ended, all timber trees in this neighborhood having been
cut down.

As very little land is found, not capable of tillage and
highly productive, in the vicinity of Albion, the desire for
present profit has induced the farmers very generally to
clear off their woodlands until wood is becoming scarce and
high priced. Within a few years, the price of firewood has
doubled, although large quantities of coal are now used.
Firewood is offered in the Albion market, cut 3 feet or 3 J
feet long. Wood 4 feet long is never sold here. The aver-
age price of hard wood, per cord of 3 feet wide, 4 feet high
and 8 feet long, is $2 00.

Large quantities of wheat are brought to Albion, on
wagons, by the farmers of the County, and purchased here
for shipment to eastern mills. Within a few years a great
trade has grown up in apples, green and dried. Many
thousands of barrels are shipped east and west yearly.
Perhaps no part of our country is better adapted than this
County to the growth of this fruit, and great pains have^



been taken by the farmers in grafting their trees, and grow-
ing the choicest varieties for sale. The peach, cherry, plum
and grape, flourish here well, and scarce a garden is to be
found in the village that has not a tolerable supply of many
or all of these. Large numbers of fat cattle, sheep and
other animals, raised in abundance by the wealthy farmers
of this County, are sent on the foot by Eailroad to eastern
merchants from the Albion station.

This village lies upon a stratum of lime rock, which,
in some places, comes near the surface, and affords quarries
of excellent building stone. The County Jail, large School
House, Ward's Mill, and several other buildings, besides
cellar walls and the walls of the Canal, are made of these
stone. They are easily dug and cut, and stand frost and
water well, and the supply is inexhaustible.

The pine lumber used for building was formerly
brought from Allegany county. It now comes from Cana-
da, mainly, to the mouth of the Oak Orchard Creek, and
from thence on wagons to Albion, or by the Canal from
Buffalo or Eochester, Brick of a fair quality are made
about one and a half miles north of the village. Lime, in
abundance, is made from stone found in different parts of
the town of Barre,

A branch of Sandy Creek runs through the eastern
part of the village, which, before the country was cleared
of trees, was a considerable mill stream. From draining
the swampa in which it rises, removing the obstructions
which lay in the stream, and clearing the land of trees along
its banks, the volume of water is so reduced that for months
in summer, south of the Canal, there is scarce a stream.
Brown's Saw Mill, on this stream, does a good business for
a short time in winter and spring, during high water.
Ward's Flouring Mill uses the water of this stream, and
from a waste wier in the Canal, and when these fail it rehes


on a steam engine. Near the northeastern boundary of the
village, just off the corporation, Braley's Saw Mill and
Woolen Factory stand on this stream. Here wool carding
and cloth dressing is done for customers, besides considera-
ble manufacturing of woolen cloth.

The Albion Plank Road Company constructed a Plank
Road on the Oak Orchard Road, from Albion to the Ridge
Road, at the village of Gaines, three miles ; and the same
year the Barre Plank Road Company made a Plank Road
south of Albion, about five miles.

In wet weather, from the clayey nature of the soil and
the level surface of the land, the highwaj^s leading into
Albion are not generally in good condition for travel, and
are sometimes very bad. In the village, from the Canal
south, to Canal street, large quantities of earth and stone
have xbeen brought to build up Batavia street ; and the
• present McAdamized surface of that street, in this locality,
in some places, is five or sis feet above the natural surface
of the ground.

Since 18-12, considerable attention has been given to
building sidewalks of plank along most of the principal
streets ; adding much to the comfort of foot people on those
streets, in Vt^et weather. In the year 1852 the corporation
expended $1,000 in grading Batavia and Clinton streets.

About 1840, large numbers of yellow locust trees were
set in Albion, which for three or four years grew finely.
They were then attacked b}'- the Borer, for two or three
years, and almost entirely cut to pieces. Many broke down
and became disfigured. The Borer then ceased its depre-
dations as suddenly as they came, and what locust trees re-
mained are begining to thrive ; but other trees are now sub-
stituted for ornament or shade, among which the acer ru-
hrum, or swamp or soft maple, is most common.




The first clearing of land in Albion, and it is believed
the first in the town of Barre, was on the top of the hill,
about where the Phipps Union Female Seminary now
stands, and was made by Mr. William McCollister,
about the year 1811. Mr. McCollister took from the Hol-
land Land Company an Article for several hundred acres
of land, comprising all of the village lying east of Batavia
street. The first building erected in Albion was his log
dwelling house, on the Seminary lot. Into this house he
moved his family, and here his wife died, about the year
1812. At the time of her death she was the only white
woman in the town now Barre, At her funeral there was
none of her sex present, nor any one to conduct religious
exercises. There were no boards to be obtained to make
her coffin ; planks were split out and hewed from trees, and
pinned together, to make a box, in which the corpse was
placed, and she was silently buried by her sorrowing hus-
band and two or three men — who composed almost the
entire population of the town, at the time of this, its first,

Mr. McCollister afterwards sold the whole of his land
to William Bradner, who removed here, and cleared off the
timber from the front of his land, on Batavia street, from
where the Canal now is to Chamberlain street, William
Bradner sold 100 acres of the south part of his purchase to
his brother, Joel Bradner, who cleared off the rest of the
land fronting Batavia street south, and built his log house



on the land now owned by Gov. Cliurch, south of the

"William Bradner afterwards sold 100 acres, including
the whole front on Batavia street east side, from a little
below Madison street north to the town line, to Nehemiah
IngersoU and others. Mr. Ingersoll soon bought out his
partners, and in the year 1821 employed Mr. Orange Eisden
to survey and draw a plan of village lots and streets on the
east side of Batavia street, from where the Canal is south,
including Madison street, and east, including Market street;
which plan was generally observed in the early sales of lots
by Mr. Ingersoll.

In the month of August, 1815, Mr. Jesse Bumpus
took from the Holland Land Company an Article of the
land lying on the west side of Batavia street, from the town
line, on the north, to near the site of the Baptist Church >
south ; extending far enough west, parallel with Batavia
street, to include 163 acres of land. This tract was then
an unbroken forest. Mr. Bumpus commenced felling the
trees, and built a log house on the lot, nearly in front of
the present residence of Hon. L. Burrows, into which he
removed with his family, in October of that year, Mr.
Bumpus cleared off" the timber from the whole front of his
land on Batavia street, then the Oak Orchard Road.

The first framed dwelling house built in the village of
Albion, was erected by Mr. J^sse Bumpus and his son, Phi-
letus, on the lot on which Mr. L. Burrows resides. Mr.
Philetus Bumpus still resides in Albion, and is the oldest
inhabitant of the place.

Before Mr. Bumpus came, Elijah Barrow had taken an
Article from the Holland Company, of what has since been
known as the Butts' farm, lying on the south bounds of the
village, west side of Batavia street ; containing about 100
acres. He sold to Frederick Holsenburgh. Mr. Holsen-


burgk began to clear his land, and built a log house ou Ba-
tavia street, near the south line of the village, in which he
resided with his family at the time of the Bumpus purchase.

Mr. John Ilolsenburgh took up from the Land Com-
pany all the land west side of Batavia street, between Dar-
row's and Bumpus' purchases, which was afterwards pur-
chased by Goodrich & Stoudart.

The first settlers of Albion and vicinity used to go to
Irondequoit, in Monroe county, to get their grain ground ;
no mills having then been built at Rochester or nearer.

This portion of country was abundant in game,
such as bears, deer, wolves, &c., and the earlier settlers be-
came expert hunters of these animals, which were frequently
seen and taken within the limits of the village. Mr. F.
Holsenburgh at one time caught a cub near the present site
of the Railroad depot, and carried it to his log cabin alive.
The next night the old bear tracked its young one to the
vcabin, and commenced scratching and gnawing at the door
to get at the cub. Holsenburgh having no gun, or means
to kill the bear, was obliged to release the cub before he
could get rid of his dangerous assailant.

The first tavern house in the village was erected by

Churchill, on the ground now occupied by the Orleans

House block. The second tavern v/as the old Albion Ho-
tel, which stood on the west side of Batavia street, between
Bank street and the Canal, built by Philetus Bumpus, and
kept for several years by Bumpus & Howlaud. After leav-
ing the Albion Hotel, Mr. Bumpus built the Mansion
House, where it now stands, on the north bank of the Ca-
nal, on Batavia street, which was kept by him several years
as a public house.

Among the first merchants in Albion were Goodrich &
Stoudart, John Tucker, 0. H. Gardner, R. S. & L. Burrows.

Roswell Burrows, the father of Messrs. R. S. & L. Bur-


rows, purchased tlie principal part of the Bumpus tract.
His sons came here from Connecticut as merchants, and after
the death of their father succeeded him as owners of his
real estate in the village, which they laid out into streets
and lots, and which the}^ have been selling down to the
present time. Possessing good business talent and capital,
their industry and sagacity and successful speculations have
raised them to rank with the wealthiest families in western
New York. They were founders of the Eank of Albion
in which they have ever ovv^ned a controlling interest, and
of which they have ever been officers and chief managers.
Since the establishment of this Bank, Mr. Pi. S. Burrows,
the elder brother, has devoted himself mainly to conducting
the business of the Bank. Mr. L. Burrows has taken a
more active part in public affaii's, and for four years last
past has represented this District in the House of Eepresen-
tatives in Congress, with honor to himself and to the gen-
eral satisfaction of his constituents.

The first Warehouse built in Albion was by Nehemiah
Ingersoll, about fifteen rods east of Batavia street, on the
Canal. The next was by Cary & Tilden, on the west side
of Batavia street, on the corner owned now by P. Dyer.

The lii'st Mill was a Saw Mill erected by William
Bradner, on the Creek in the east part of the village, near
v/here Brov/n's Saw Mill now stands. Mr. Bradner soon
after built a Grist Mill below his Saw Mill, on the same
stream. The larjie stone Flouring Mill, on the same Creek,
on the bank of the Canal, was built by Ward & Clark, in the
year 1833. Webb's Steam Flouring Mill, on Liberty street,
was built in a building that had previously been used for
storage and forwarding on the Canal, in the year 1852.


The annual Charter Election for the village of Albion
is held on the second Tuesday in April, at which fiv©
Trustees, three Assessors, one Street Commissioner, one
Constable and a Collector, are elected. All other village
officers are appointed by the Board of Trustees. The vil-
lage Constable possesses, by law, the same general powers
as Constables of towns, and, although the Charter invests
the Trustees with power to make certain police regulations,
hitherto but few by daws of that character have been enacted
by them, and the police department is mainly left to the
general laws of the State, and their execution is for the
main part conducted by the town authorities, of whom two
Justices of the Peace have ever resided in Albion.

A Board of Health for the village has been appointed
for several years, and to their exertions in preserving clean-
liness, perhaps, may be ascribed, in a good degree, the fact
that no Cholera or other epidemic disease, nor much general
sickness, has prevailed in this village.

The following is a list of the several Boards of Trus-
tees, to wit:

1829. ,. 1830.

Alexis Ward, President, l Alexis Ward, President,

Orson Niclioson, j William Bradner,
William Bradner, Franklin Fenton,

Freeman Clarke, | Hugh McCurdy,

Franklin Fenton. || Harry Gilmore.



Henry R. Curtis, President,
Hugh McCurdy,
Lewis Warner,
Franklin Fenton,
Philip Nichols.

Henry R. Curtis, President,
Hugh McCurdy,
Lewis Warner,
Isaac F. Benedict,
Roswell Clark.

Harvey Goodrich, President,
John Hubbard,
Freeman Clarke,
Hugh McCurdy,
Abraham B. Mills.

Harvey Goodrich, President,
John Hubbard,
Hugh McCurdy,
Rodney A. Torry,
Alderaian Butts.

Harvey Goodrich, President,
Hugh McCurdy,
John Chamberlain,
Hiram Cowles,
John B. Lee.


Harvey Goodrich, President,
John B. Lee,
Benj. L. Bessac,
Franklin Fenton,
Coddington W. Swan,

Benj. L. Bessac, President,
John B. Lee,
Abraham Cantine,
Henry R. Curtis,
Orson Nichoson.

Jonathan Elkins, President,
Benj. L. Bessac,
John Boardman,
Gideon Hard,
Truxton Burrell.

Benj. L. Bessac, President,
Abraham Cantine,
Jonathan Kingsley,
Calvin Church,
Alderman Butts.


Arad Thomas, President,
Jonathan Kingsley,
Coddington W. Swan,
David Holt, Jr.,
Elijah Dana.

Arad Thomas, President,
Elijah Dana,
Roswell Clark,
Aruna Smith,
Hiram Baker.

Arad Thomas, President,
Roswell Clark,
Jonathan Kingslev,
Asher Fhnt, Jr.,
Abner Sheldon.

Henry A. King, President,
Charles Baker,
John B. Lee,
Lorenzo Burrows,
John Boardman.

Henry A. King, President,
Lorenzo Burrows,
Henry J. VanDeusen,
Abraham B. Mills,
IWm. V. N. Barlow.



Henry A. King, President,
Zephaniah CJark,
Abraliam B. Mills,
Jonathan Edgoomb,
Aslier Flint, Jr.

Henry A. King, President,
George H. Stone,
Lewis Warner,
Robert Lewis,
Lorenzo Burrows.


George H. Stone, President,
Seth L. King,
Rosweli (Jlark,
Win. G. Gardner,
Aruna Smith.

George H. Stone, President,
Benj. L. Bessac,
Aruna Smith,
William Butler,
Seth L. King.


Joseph M. Cornell, President,
Lewis Pullman,

Roswell Clark,
tdiarles H. Moore,
Zerah Webb.

Charles H. Moore, President,
Vv'm. K. McAllister,
Eiastus Root,
A. R. Quirnby,
Hoi'ace Washburn.

Henry J. Sickels, President,
Roswell Clark,
David Bettis,
John B. Lee,
Charles Baker.


Josepli M. Cornell, President,
Charles Baker,
Henry A. King,
Roswell Clark,
Lewis Pullman.


Joseph M. Cornell, President,
Henry A. King,
Aruna Smith,
j Roswell Clark,
I Charles Baker.

1 3

Online LibraryArad ThomasSketches of village of Albion : containing incidents of its history and progress, from its first settlement, and a statistical account of its trade, schools, societies, manufactures, &c. → online text (page 1 of 3)