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STORY
HIST^







Jenny Mar sh Parker



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ROCHESTER



A Story Historical



JENNY MARSH PARKER



Behold ! a change which proves e'en fiction true, —
More springing wonders than Aladdin knew. . . .
These cross-crowned spires and teeming streets confess
That man at last hath quelled the wilderness.

Frederic Whittlesey. 1S26

All honor to the toil-worn pioneers,

A brave, a sturdy band, although to fame

Unknown, who, like the orb of day, untired

And still, have changed by labors ever new

The dark primeval wilderness to fields

Of smiling beauty. . . .

The noblest benefactors of their race.

Harvey Humphrey




ROCHESTER, N. Y.
SCRANTOM, WETMORE AND COMPANY

Publishers and Booksellers
18S4



^1



Copyright, 1884,
ByJEXNY MARSH PARKER.

All rii^hts reserved.



The Riverside Press, Cambridge :
Electrotyped and Printed by H. O. Houghton & Co.



DEDICATED

TO

SARAH R. A. DOLLEY, M. D.



CONTENTS.



I. The Old Long House and the TexXant Unknown . ^""^
II. The Tenant Dispossessed

III. Trouble in the Camp ^

ID

IV. Irondequoit Bay ....

V. The City of Tryon, on Irondequoit Bay . . 32
VI. The Genesee of the Senegas .... 36

VII. The Title Deed of the New Tenant ... 41
VIII. Arrival Number One

IX. Some of our First Families

X. A Dismal Swamp

••••.. 70

XI. ROGHESTEKVILLE p

XII. Our Brave Thirty-three

XIII. "Clinton's Big Ditch" j^g

XIV. A Decade Memorable jj

XV. The Old Files * * ^ ?

XVI. Mount Hope . • • - j

XVII. The Isms Charge

XVIII. Men and Things Notable . . . . \ 27-'

XIX. What shall be Hereafter ^in

XX. A FEW First Things : Scrap-Basket Historical 337

Appendix A

353

Appendix B .

357

Index

407



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.



Genesee Falls

Glen House, Lower Falls (faces) .....

Rattlesnake .........

The Tenant Unknown .......

The Tenant Dispossessed ......

Emblems whose Glory is Departed ....

Irondequoit Bay

Hennepin's Picture of Niagara

Embryo Isaak Walton ......

Stump Mortar ........

Indian Treaty ........

Map of Phelps and Gorham's Purchase (faces)

N. Rochester (faces)

Selye Fire Engine Manufactory (faces) ....
Mills of Thomas Kempshall (faces) ....

A Cavalcade

Map of the Original One Hundred Acre Tract (faces)
The Carthage Wooden Bridge, iSiS

Eagle Tavern (faces)

Rochester City Bank

Canal Boat

Plan of the New Aqueduct (faces)

Keg from which Clinton poured the Water of Lake Erie

Adantic
Map of the Village of Rochester in 1820 (faces)
Rochester House (faces)
Christ Church (faces)
Second Baptist Church (faces) .
First Presbyterian Church (faces)
St. Luke's Church, P. E. (faces) .
St. Patrick's Church, R. C. (faces;
Tonnewanta Railroad Bridge
Carthage Railroad .
Henry O'Reilly (faces)
The Old Arcade

Old Residences on Fitzhugh Street (faces)
Mills of Charles J. Hill (faces)



Frontispiece.




4




6




7




15




20




2.1




31




35




40




43




44




58




60




60




64




64




69




74




94




106




1 12


into the






118




118




1 20




t3o




132




132




132




132




134




135




146




155




162




164



vm



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.



Mills of E. W. Scrantom (faces)

The New Market (1 83S)

Rochester High School

Mills of Warham Whitney (faces)

Eajjle Mills (faces)

Brick Church, I'resbyterian (faces)

St. Paul's (Grace) Church, P. E. (faces)

Dr. Dewey (faces)

The Old Allen Seminary, now the Site of tlie Warner Buildings

Third Presbyterian Church (faces)

First Methodist Chapel (faces) ......

A North Road Stage Coach

" Plain Bonnets for Friends and Methodists "...

J. Robinson, the Hair Cutter

The Summer Garden in Carroll Street

Entrance to Mount Hope

Myron Holley (faces)

Erickson Monument (faces)

View of Hill of Revolutionary Patriots at Mount Hope (faces)
Su^an B. Anthony (faces) .......

Kate Fox (faces)

Powers Commercial Buildings and tlie Powers Hotel (faces)

.Monroe House (faces)

D. W. Powers (faces)

Warner Buildings (faces)

The Warner Observatory, Interior (faces) ....

Warner Observatory (faces)

Warner Residence (faces)

Elephas Primagenus

James Vick (faces)

University of Rochester (faces)

M. B. Anderson (faces) .......

Rochester Savings Bank (faces)

St. Paul's Church in Ruins (faces) .....

First Baptist Church (faces)

Bird's-Eye \'iew of Rochester

Brick Church, Presbyterian (faces)



164
165
166
166
166
168
168
170

183
194
194
210
21 1
212
216
223
230
232
236
260
268

272

274
2S0
28 2
284
286
288
291
294
296
29S
302
312
318

319

322



ROCHESTER: A STORY HISTORICAL



THE OLD LONG HOUSE AND THE TENANT UNKNOWN.

When Diedrich Knickerbocker began his unique History
of New York with the creation, and accepted the theories
of "one Charlevoix, a man averse to the marvelous,"
whereby a hypothetical fourth son of Noah was given the
honor of discovering the New World, he had at least the
satisfaction of going back as far as his most exacting reader
could demand.

The story of Rochester begins with that of the Genesee
Valley. The story of the Genesee Valley has its beginning
in the unwritten history of the early human race on this
continent, the first possessors of this soil we call our own.
The evidences of that unrecorded occupancy are fast dis-
appearing. The traces of the mound-builders in Western
New York are nearly obliterated. Who can find at Han-
ford's Landing to-day the outline, even, of the semicircular
embankment the early settlers discovered, but had little
tmie or mclination to study or preserve .? Of what value to
them were the bones, coins, and pottery found around Iron-
dequoit Bay, having decided that they were the remains of
modern Indians killed in tribal war, or those of some of the
Frenchmen that once tried to possess the land ? Skulls
that our prehistoric students of to-day would give much to
examine were tossed aside as worthless by the "money-dig-
gers," who delved in vain for French treasure chests Tn
Webster and Penfield.

The ends of that semicircular embankment, we are told
extended to the very edge of the ravine. It had three nar-



2 ROCHESTER: A STORY HISTORICAL.

row gateways, placed at regular intervals. The traditions
of the Indians reveal nothing concerning it, but Mary Jem-
ison tells us that just before she came to this country (1759)
there was a great land slide on the Upper Genesee, and
human bones were unearthed, which the Indians declared
were those of the people who held their hunting-grounds
Ion- before them, and who were not of their kindred.
Wh^ence they came and whither they went the wisest sa-
chems did not pretend to guess. To the Indian, the Tenant
Unknown, the ancient possessor of this country, was as
o-reat a mystery as he is to us. The few remaining evi-
dences of his occupancy do not lose their interest because
our wise men cannot tell us for a certainty the color of his
skin, his status of culture, or his lineage; whether he per-
ished without descendants in the course of nature like many
species of plants and animals of former years, or whether
he was exterminated by a stronger and wiser people. Of
the race succeeding him we know almost as little. Nor
can we say with certainty that the traces of ancient works
in this locality can lay claim to the highest antiquity. Their
last faint traces are rapidly disappearing. We may look in
vain at the " Sea Breeze " for an outline of the two mounds
where fragments of bone, pottery, and other rude relics
were found. It stands recorded that these historical mounds
occupied the high, sandy ground to the westward of Iron-
dequoit Bay, where it connects with Lake Ontario, and that
on the eastern shore, in a corresponding position, was an-
other mound of considerable size which, it is said, contained
human bones. Unfortunately our famous townsmen, Lewis
H. Morgan and Prof. Henry A. Ward, were not on the
ground when those mounds were opened, nor when the
treasures of another on Irondcquoit Creek, in Penfield,
were brought to the surface. The platform of the Bay
Railroad Depot at the Sea Breeze is said to be built upon
soil that has yielded a rich harvest of coins, skulls, and im-
plements of ancient warfare, if the stories of the old set-
tlers may be credited, but nothing has been preserved.
The flat, sandy meadow to the southwest of the station has



THE OLD LONG HOUSE AND THE TENANT UNKNOWN. 3

been called " The Old French Burying-Ground," and there
is a legend that it was there that De Nonville buried his
dead.

The Genesee Valley was rich in ancient remains. Traces
of the cemeteries and forts of the early Senecas were nu-
merous along its banks, and if the testimony of the Indians
may be received, a people have lived upon its shores and
passed away of whom they have not the faintest tradition.

The spade of the pioneer of the Genesee Country has
unearthed other prehistoric remains than those of the
mound-builders. We know that the mastodon once went
tramping over this region, browsing on forest trees, and
that he existed on the soil of North America for thousands
of years. Whether he was the contemporary of the mound-
builders or not we may never know for a certainty, or if his
day was waning when the lord of the bow and arrow dis-
puted his supremacy. He claims the dim border land of
our historic soil, and none of us are inclined to dispute the
assertion that " he must have lived at a time when the
surface of the country was better calculated to sustain
mastodons than now." The tusk of one of these gigantic
quadrupeds, discovered here in 1838, was nine feet long.
It was found by the workingmen digging the Genesee Val-
ley Canal, near where the Plymouth Avenue Bridge now
stands. Bones of the head, several ribs, parts of the ver-
tebrae, etc., were also found, intermingled with gravel and
covered with clay and loam. Unfortunately, the workmen
had made sorry havoc before the nature of the bones was
discovered, and measures taken to preserve them. This
valuable relic of some prehistoric quadruped may be seen
in the State Museum at Albany. Molar teeth of the mas-
todon have been found in various places near Rochester,
and as early as 1817 a discriminating eye discovered what
proved to be similar remains in the bed of Deep Hollow
Creek.

Mound-builder and mastodon, — and yet we have hardly
reached the beginning of our story. Perhaps Diedrich
Knickerbocker was correct after all, and we had been wise



4



ROCHESTER: A STORY HISTORICAL.



in following his example. Rochester is an evolution of the
Genesee Falls. " Ga-sko-sa'-go " was the Indian name,
meaning " at the Falls," and for years after Allan's Mill
was built at the ford the place was called Falls Town. The
story of the F"alls is best told sitting on the piazza of the
Glen House, for one of the first chapters thereof is written
in the succession of strata so plainly seen on the high east-
ern bank. If, when you have called each stratum by name,
you tell us how the gorge has been excavated, how the Gen-
esee has made its channel and its cascades, taking us back
to the time when there was but one cataract, — where does
our story begin, pray tell t And if, when you are done
with making plain how with the wearing away of shale
and the opposition of Niagara limestone, etc., a cascade,
yes, two or more, went traveling southward years ago, and
that this recession is still going on,^ and that a time will
come when the Falls, in the phrase of our southern folk,
"will be done gone entirely," the river rushing over a
gradually sloping bed to its outlet, Irondequoit Bay a marsh
or meadow, a tranquil stream winding through the valley,
— when is this story to end } Can you tell }

And so perhaps the most exacting reader, who has little
approval for a story of Rochester that does not tell of the
first things that may be told, will forgive our only casting a
glance at the Old Ridge Road. That ancient landmark,
more surely than the river, perhaps, will lead us back to an
age when this New World w^as the Old World in the phys-
ical history of the earth's surface, to the time before the
upheaval of the hills standing round about our city, and
when the conditions of the surface and the proportions of
land and water were very different from the present, when
there was possibly a communication between the waters of
this great valley and the Mississippi, "and masses of ice
with boulders were drifting over the surrounding inland
sea."

That the Ridge Road, a much traveled trail of the Sen-

' It is said that the Falls of Niagara are receding at the rate of forty feet
in fiftv years.



vh'^S'';.,








?^m&i







GLEN HOUSE, LOWER FALLS.



THE OLD LONG HOUSE AND THE TENANT UNKNOWN. 5

ecas, and an almost finished road for the early settlers, was
the ancient beach or boundary of a large body of water has
been settled conclusively. A discussion of the many the-
ories as to the cause or causes that drained Lake Ontario
from its old limits may be most profitably discussed in driv-
ing over the smooth, hard roadway, through the charming
farm lands of Greece, where there are many who, in digging
their cellars and wells, have found shells, pebbles, and other
evidences that the land was once submerged. Dr. Dewey
used to exhibit to the pupils of the old High School a frag-
ment of a tree, — a white cedar, which in 1834 or there-
abouts was found sixteen feet below the surface in a well
in Greece, about five miles west of the Genesee. The veg-
etable mould in which it was discovered lay upon a bed of
fine white sand, like that of the present lake shore. The
Doctor's lectures upon the subject, well illustrated with
drawings of modern lake beaches and ridges, with perhaps
a geological and botanical excursion of the class to the
Lower Falls and the Ridge Road, are vv^ell remembered
by many of his old pupils still in our midst, and how he
used to discourse in his ever serene, happy way, — with
many a story and an occasional pinch of snuff, — of the
different theories concerning the formation of the Ridge; of
the proofs that the water covered a large tract of country,
but only to a moderate depth ; that there was a gradual sub-
sidence by the bursting of successive barriers ; and how at
last, by the removal of the one on the St. Lawrence, the
waters subsided to a still lower level, and Lake Ontario
sank to its present dimensions. If his pupils sometimes
failed in following him when he pursued his subject through
the denuding agencies which excavated the valleys of West-
ern New York, and the formation of river channels and lake
basins in general, he was sure to gain their attention when
he told the stories of the modern Ridge Road, the reminis-
cences of early settlers and later pioneers who had been
quick to discover what that natural highway would prove
to the Genesee Country. One Joe Perry, a favorite rhym-
ster of our early pioneers, had sat in a Ridge Road bar-room



6 ROCJIESTEK: A STOKY IIISrORICAL.

as early as 1812, and sun - what he called "The Song of
the Genesee Bushman " : —

" I sing of the great Ridge Road,

Of tlie highway our children shall see,
That lies like a belt on Ontario's shore.
Carved out in the wisdom of ages before,

For the races that yet are to be," etc., etc.

It was in the locality of the Falls that the workmen, in
blasting for the foundations of Whitney's Mill at the foot of
Brown's Race, discovered the ancient remains of what sug-
gested that snakes akin to the boa-constrictors of Ceylon
had once been a feature of the landscape. Mr. Nehemiah
Osburn is, I believe, the authority for the size and com-
parative number of the skeletons, and will testify, no doubt,
that they may be properly mentioned with our prehistoric
mastodons.




The Ridge Road and the Genesee Falls were to the Sen-
ecas' section of the old Iroquois Long House what the
spacious entrance and hearthstone are to one of our Roch-
ester homes of to-day. The dominion of the Iroquois, the
League of the Five Nations, conquerors and masters of all
the Indian nations east of the Mississippi, comprised the
greater part of the Empire State, their name meaning by
Indian interpretation, " People of the Long House," a fact
with which we have all been made familiar by the title alone
of Lewis H. Morgan's " League of the Iroquois " (People
of the Long House). This confederacy of five distinct na-
tions ranged in a line alonsr Central New York was likened



THE OLD LONG HOUSE AND THE TENANT UNKNOWN. /

to one of the long bark houses with which Mr. Morgan's
readers are familiar. Five fires and five families. Some
of these long houses deserved the name, as they were found
by actual measurement to be five hundred and forty feet
long, although only about thirty in breadth.

As undisputed tenants to-day of the old Seneca Long
House, it seems fitting that we should give a remembrance
at least to the Tenant Unknown, him of whose occupancy
so few vestiges remain, — faint outlines of old walls and em-
bankments (who can say if they be tombs or altars T), and a
few tusks and molars of animals that may have been trouble-
some invaders of his peace. He has a place in our story
as rightfully as the marked physical features of our domain,
and no less for the reason that his claim upon us seems
that of a fossilized race of independent fragments, so used
are we to seeing him thus represented in museums of pre-
historic remains.




ROCHESTER: A STORY HISTORICAL.



II.

THE TENANT DISPOSSESSED.

The Genesee Country, when the white man first heard
the roar of its Falls, was in the possession of the most numer-
ous nation of the League of the Iroquois, — the Senecas, —
justly proud of their distinctive title, " Ho-nan-ne-ho-ont,"
or " The Door-keeper," of the Long House. To them be-
longed the hereditary guardianship of the Western Door.
The grand council fire, it is true, was in the Onondaga
Valley, but the Senecas commanded the Western Door, an
honor still maintained by their pale faced successors, some
may say, when our city's supremacy in Western New York
is fairly estimated.

"The Iroquois," says Parkman, "was the Indian of In-
dians, a thorough savage, a finished and developed savage
... as savage in his religion as in his life." He has been
called " the Roman of the Western World," and the specu-
lations of historians as to what he might have attained had
he possessed the advantages of the ancient Greek and Ro-
man are interesting to say the least. The ferocious vitality
of this powerful confederacy — a federal Republic, originally
of five nations (the Tuscaroras were admitted in 1715) —
would in time have subjected and absorbed every other
tribe west of the Mississippi. There is a certain satisfac-
tion, it must be admitted, in knowing that Indian strength
and prowess had made this region historical long before
the bitter strife began between French and English for
commercial monopoly. If the tusks of our mastodons lack
by a foot or two in the length of those found elsewhere,
and our Irondequoit and Hanford's Landing mounds may



THE TENANT DISPOSSESSED. 9

not compare with some in Ohio, our Seneca Indians are not
to be ranked as second-class in any classification, even ad-
mitting that Red Jacket did in his declining years go upon
the lecture platform.

The history of the Senecas is the thread for our follow-
ing. The story of their origin, as told by Mary Jemison,
confers an honor upon Canandaigua Lake which we may
be pardoned for wishing had been secured for our Lower
Falls, or even Irondequoit Bay. Mary Jemison, many of
my readers are well aware, was the famous "White Wo-
man of the Genesee" whose touching story was given to us
a few years ago, as told by her to James E. Seaver and pub-
lished by D. M. Dewey. It has recently been republished
by the Hon. W. P. Letchworth, of Portage, with an account
of the removal, under his superintendence, of the good wo-
man's remains from the old mission burying-ground at Red
Jacket, near Buffalo, to the spot where she rested when
she first came to the Genesee Valley in 1759, — the high
eminence on the bank of the Genesee, near the Portage
Falls.

No one can tell the story of the Genesee Country without
frequent reference to Mary Jemison, a woman whose long
and eventful life was, perhaps more than that of any wo-
man who has ever lived in " the Pleasant Valley," a sub-
lime illustration of heroic, self-sacrificing, yet cheerful sub-
mission to seeming adverse destiny.

Born on the ocean, between Ireland and Philadelphia, in
1742 or 1743, of parents whose nationality she never knew,
but who settled in a wilderness home on the frontier of
Pennsylvania, she lived until about thirteen years of age
in a Christian family, with her brothers and sisters and
loving parents, all of whom were tomahawked in a fearful
massacre in 1755, when she was carried captive, and by
cruel marches, to the Ohio Country, where she was adopted
by an Indian family, and became in time the wife of an In-
dian, naming her children after her parents and brothers
and sisters, but never permitted to speak the English lan-
guage. " Remembering the charge that my dear mother



lO ROCHESTER : A STORY HISTORICAL.

o-avc mc at the time I left her, whenever I chanced to be

o

alone I made a business of repeating my prayer, catechism,
or something I had learned, in order that I might not for-
get my own language. By practicing in that way I retained
it till I came to Genesee Flats (1759) where I soon became
acquainted with English people."

Mary Jemison's home for nearly seventy-two years was
in the locality where she settled in 1759, before the white
man had attempted a settlement, on the banks of the Gene-
see River, near Moscow and Cuylerville. She moved to the
Buffalo Reservation in 1831, and died there in 1833. The
good missionary who visited her in her last moments tells
us that when the Lord's Prayer was repeated to her in
English, Mary Jemison, wept and said : " That is the prayer
my mother taught me and which I have forgotten so many
years."

Lost to her own people, refusing to leave the Senecas
when it was possible for her to do so, bearing an Indian
woman's hard burdens with a white woman's nature, true to
her adopted people yet faithful to her own race, what a tie
she proved between the two races, a very bond of peace,
the assurance of what might have been in the past had all
of her race possessed her gentle heart and her discernment
of the humanity of the savage. From her we have received
much of our most valuable information regarding the tradi-
tions and customs of the Senecas.

" The tradition of the Senecas," says Mary Jemison, " is
that they broke out of the earth from a large mountain at
the head of Canandaigua Lake ; and that mountain they
still venerate as the place of their birth."

Admitting the long and rather insipid legend, we natu-
rally turn to a brief study of the Iroquois, beginning with
their first acquaintance with the white man, who ulti-
mately became the legal tenant of the Long House.

In 1638 all New York west of Albany was called "The
Unknown Land " by the Dutch, who had a trading-house at
Albanv, and were fast getting rich in exchanging fire-arms
and blankets and gaudy baubles for the valuable furs and



THE TENANT DISPOSSESSED. 1 1

skins the Iroquois brought them. These shrewd Dutchmen
were very unlike their French contemporaries upon the St.
Lawrence, in the fact that they were not troubled with a
burning desire to convert the Indians, and so add a conti-
nent to Church and King. What they had heard of the
Iroquois made them content to leave all west of their block-
houses in Indian possession.

But Western New York had already found a certain
place in European history, and perhaps it is more indebted
to the Norman and Breton fishermen of 1503 and there-
abouts, who dragged their nets off the coasts of New-
foundland, than to any other source. They awakened the
commercial spirit of France, and the enterprise of French
merchants, who sent out in time (1608) the heroic Cham-
plain, the Jesuit missionary close to his side. In 1578 there
were more French fishing vessels than English, Spanish,
or Portugese off Newfoundland. Lent and fast day in
France demanded codfish. The fishermen were not long
in finding out that barter with the Indians paid better than
fishing. Hence the settlements, the explorations, the mis-



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