Pioneers of Rochester.

Proceedings at the annual festivals of the pioneers of Rochester, held at Blossom hall, Sept. 30, 1847, and Oct. 13, 1848 (Volume 1) online

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Online LibraryPioneers of RochesterProceedings at the annual festivals of the pioneers of Rochester, held at Blossom hall, Sept. 30, 1847, and Oct. 13, 1848 (Volume 1) → online text (page 1 of 6)
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SEPTEMBER 30, 1847, AND OCTOBER 12, 1848.





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Glass X _







HELD AT .my early a'-sociates in the varied
toils and e,\nHi-ience incid nt to settling a new
town in the d 'sert — overcoming such nb-taclesa-
wood^, swamp=, fever and ague, bearf, rattle.
snakes, mosquitoes, and most other of the win^^ed

tribe, added to all the privations — I say the feeU
ings [ entertain, are interesting and enduring.

With the following sentiment or thought, I
close, in haste. Most respectfully yours,

Chas. J. Hill.

The latter Pioveers of Rochester —Tho^e en-
terprising and worthy citizens " who came to the
retcue" after 1818, and the sons of the Pioneers,
men qualifi. d for the task of rearing the Super-
structure of our thriving city.

RocHiESTER, Sept. 20, 1847.
To the President of the Pioneer Meeting :

Dear Hir — Unforeseen circunistunces have pre-
vented me from joining in the festivities of this
first public dinner of the Pioneers of Rochester.
I well remember the 1st day of May, 1812, when
I arri\jed in this now city of Rochester, and that it
■nowed all day, and that the city then looked
dreary, having not a single house or family on the
west side of the Genesee.

I will now offer a sentiment, and am

Yours, truly, Edwin Scrantom.

Our old "Tid absent friend, Preston Smith —
The man who, in 1813, for want of a looking-
glass, hung up his black coat on the outside of the
wiiid.iw, and went inside and looked into it, and
bhaved himself.

Mr. President :

Sir— In the year 1806, 1 left the State of Con-
necticut, with my father, and came to Canandai-
gua, Ontario County. I returned to the same
Sate in 1813. I came into this State, and on the
26. h day of March, 1817, I removed my family to
ihi- place, where I have ever since resided.

In May, 1817, on motion oi Sa u 1 G. An-
drews, now present, I was appointed 4ui Coiporal
in an Infantry company, and subsequently to the
cotnmand of the regiment.

In the year 1818, I rented the then 'vooden
builditig, on the same ground we now are,
of Benjamin Blos-om, father of our now ho-t, and
kept an inn ; in 1819, was appointed Con table in
the town of Brighton, whii h I held for seven years,
and two years D puty Sheriff, and for the lastsev-
enteen years have been Crier of the Monroe County
Courts. A. Newton.

To the President of the Pioneer Society of

R'lche^ter :

Sir : — I have been inuch gratified at the propo-
sal for a mef-iing of the early Pioneers of Roch-
ester, and think thai the occa-ion may be very
p'cjfitable in gathering tog thT incidents connect-
ed with the early history of your city.

I wish to submit for your consideration, the pro-
priety of forming an association for the purpose of
gathering inioimaiion, and publishing such tacts
as may he connected with the early hi.'.oy of the
Genesee country. And, as one of the old Pio-
neers, I would respectlully submit the following
p an, for the pu-po^e of ensuring the accomplish-
ment of the object of vuch organization.

A meeting of the early pioneers of the Genesee
District, (-ay west of Cayuga Lake.) for the pur-
po^e of forming a Pioneer Society lor Western


New- York, and that a President be chosen at
such meeting : also a Vice-President for each
county included ih said district ; and that such of-
ficers be chosen annually ; and that no person be
eligible who shall not have been, since the age of
21 years, for 40 years a resident of this county.
And that each Vice-President have power to form
a county society, subject to such regulation as may
be deemed expedient by the original society.

And all papers containing the early reminis-
ences of the early history of each county, and all
the contributions, manuscripts, &,c., &c., be the
property of each county society.

Various other plans might answer as well or
better for such organization.

The main object is to rescue from oblivion the
memory of those who have done so much to con-
vert the howling wilderness into a residence fit for
the occupation of Man, and have by their toils and
privations left to their descendants such a goodly
heritage as they now enjoy.
The above I submit for your consideration.
With respect, I remain yours..

D. McKexzie.
Caledonia, Livingston Co., Sept. 29, 1847.

O. CuLVEK, Esq., said he first visited the spot
where Rochester now stands in 1796. That year
and the two following, he was iu the employ of
the new Connecticut Company, and assisted the
survey of their land in Ohio. They left one fam-
ily at Cleveland, and one at Coneaut Creek, 70
miles apart. The company's boats were built at
Schenectady, taken up the Mohawk to Oswego,
up Lake Ontario, drawn round the Niagara Falls,
thence to Cleveland I In '97, made a small clear-
ing of G acres on the hill where Cleveland now
stands, and built the second log house, which was
the company's quarters. In the year "96, there
were two log hf^uses at Buffalo. In 1800, he left
his father's, at Mount Independence, Vermont, for
the purpose of settHng at Cleveland. On his
way he bought the farm he now lives on. In 1801,
'2 and '3, he was in the employ of Augustus
Griswold, at Irondequoit Landing, then the city
of the west. The Tryon farm, 3000 acres, was
laid out in city lots, and an extensive ware-house,
store, ashery and distillery, having been erected
by Try«n, and a very extensive business being
done there, no store nearer than Cauandaigua.
About this time, three persons established a store
at Charleston, near Lima. In 1804, he went to
Schenectady and Salt Point, for goods and salt,
which ware taken to Oswego, thence to Lewis-
ton, teamed to Schlosser, thence in boats to Black
Ro«k, thence to the first vessel built on our side
Lake Erie, the Good Intent, to Cleveland ; paid
$3 per barrel for salt from Black Rock to Cleve-
land. Most of it was conveyed on pack-horses,
and exchanged at Cleveland, Maumee, Huron and
Detroit, with the French and Indians for furs. In
1805, he established the first express in the west-
em country. He earned the mail on skates from
Cleveland to Huron, 40 miles in 4 hours, which

can hardly be beaten now, except by telegraph.

He bought 15 yoke of oxen, for which he paid 4^
barrels of salt a yoke. They were driven to Iron-
dequoit. He returned by way of the Lakes in

1795, in a bark canoe, with 4500 pounds of furs.
It was the sixth time he had traversed the lake in
an open boat, and once by land in '98, when there
was no house between Buffalo and Ganson's at Le
Roy. In 1800, he put in 7 acres of wheat on his
farm, in the fall of 1805, he assisted in cutting
out the road where Main street now is, from the
Genesee river, to intersect the old landing road
two miles, and was paid by the town of North-
field, 50 dollars. There was no dwelling here ex-
cept a small log house, built by Col. Fisk, in con-
nection with the " Indian Allen Mill," which stood
where the City Mills now stand. The first bridge
was built over the Genesee where Main street
bridge now stands in 1811-12; before that time we
forded the river above the rapids, in low water ;
and he has had hairbreadth escapes there in being
washed over the falls with a load of grain which
he had been to Braddock's Bay to procure with a
sled and two yokes of oxen.

Mr. Culver related an incident of his narrow
escape at this ford on a tempestuous night, when
he had volunteered to carry medicine which was
procured from Dr. Ray, of Pittsford, the then only
Doctor nearer than Palmyra — to William Hinchu
the first settler at the mouth of the Genesee, who
had been bitten by a rattlesnake. He was carried
down the river from this ford in the darkness, and
saved himself by clasping the alder branches on
the bank.

You, Mr. President, said Mr. C, built the first
house on the east side of the river, and in 1813,
wa ha^ not given up the belief that the Ironde-
quoit Landing would be the port of Entry ; every
thing here was so forbidding and inaccessible. It
was in that year that I built a vessel of 47 tons,
on the farm owned by Roswell Hart, Esq., in
Brighton, and drew it with 26 oxen to the Land-
ing. It was a fine little craft — and I at the helm
made the port of Oswego with her, where two
heavy vessels manned by 24 men were both lost,
and all on board found a watery grave.

You and I, continued Mr. C, did not expect to
have seen a city of 30,000 inhabitants where we
had so recently hunted bears successfully.

[The above is an imperfect sketch of Mr. Cul-
ver's very interesting details.]

Hamlet Scrantom, senior, one of the oldest
Pioneers present, being called upon, mentioned a
few incidents of the early settlement of Roches-
ter. He came here in 1813, built a house where
the Eagle Hotel now stand?, and helped clear a
road for some distance up Buffalo street. He had
some encounters with snakes, and on one occasion
decapitated a number that intruded into his new
house .

iMr. Hannahs followed with another snake sto-
ry, and gave an amusing account of the slaughter
of 20 of the '• varmints," belonging to a den dis-
covered by himself in 1816. They did not " hiss."

Mr. Barnard came here in 1812, put up a build-
ing 18 by 26 feet, which subsequently became the
first tailor shop, the first shoemaker shop, and
the first school and meeting-house. The first
meetings were well attended. The Pioneers were

all good singers, and they did their singing after
the old congregational fashion, as it should be
now. The whole country round was a wilderness,
and he often felt when wandering about on the
Sabbath, like Alexander Selkirk, in his solitude. — •
Mr. B. related a snake story in which six " rat-
tlers" suffered death under the Falls one Sunday,
for which exploit he received six shillings bounty
money from Squire House, He also related an
adventure with a deer, in which the animal came
off best, and suffered a captivity of three days.

Dr. Jonah Brown came here and commenced
the practice of medicine in 1813. He located his
office where the Bank of Rochester now stands.
While visiting a patient near the Rapids, he barely
escaped falhng into the claws of a panther, which
paid his respects to him as he was riding in the
woods a couple of miles south of the city. Hav-
ing heard that vocal music would keep the " crit-
ters" at a distance, he tuned up his pipes, but he
would not vouch for the character of the music

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Online LibraryPioneers of RochesterProceedings at the annual festivals of the pioneers of Rochester, held at Blossom hall, Sept. 30, 1847, and Oct. 13, 1848 (Volume 1) → online text (page 1 of 6)