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 2 of 6)
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made on that occasion. He gave a vivid sketch
of the sufferings of the sick, and stated that he
has frequently been called upon to act as nurse,
cook and doctor— whole families being down at
the same time.

Mr. Culver, at the request of Mr. Ely, related
his adventure with the Indians at Twelve Mile
Creek, in which he received a blow with a toma-
hawk on the head, the scar of which, can still be
seen ; and also the particulars of the bonfire, he
and Mr. Ely made of six thousand votes sent from
Canandaigua during the struggle for the division
of the county.

Mr. Hervey Ely, who came here in 1813, gave
a full account of the attack of the British upon
the American works at the mouth of the river. —
He was one of the party who marched to the de-
fence of the place. As our readers are familiar
with this action, we must for want of space omit
ihe particulars. Judge Sampson called upon all
who were present at that engagement to rise. —
Messrs. Ely, Kempshall, Scrantom, Smith, Graves
and Green, arose.

Mr. S. O. Smith came here m 1809, forded ihe
Genesee by Major Stoue's directions at the place
where the ne%v aqueduct now stands, got safely
over, but fell into Indian Allen's mill race, and got
out v/ith difHculty. Mr. S. described the appear-
ance of the " irreclaimable swamp" on the west
side of the river, and spoke of the difficulty of
improving the land and making it habitable. The
mud was so deep in front of the Mansion House, i
that years after, when the f^tage from Canandaigua \
, did not appear at the regi;lar hour, the citizens |
used to inquire if it had sunk in the slough in front j
of the hotel. - .

Mr. Anton House, kept the audience iu a roar
by an amusing account of his early adventures. — '
He commenced digging and has been digging ever I
since, the street where his property (the Minerva j
building) is located, having been dug down the i
depth of one story in front and almost as much j

in rear. His first pettifoggin g excursion wae mad*
on foot to Phelpstowu. When appointed Justic*
of the Peace he had no coat, and was obliged to„ /
be " qualified" in Canandaigua in his shirt slpeves. ,
He walked to that place and took the oath early
in the morning before the people were stirring.

Mr. Pomeroy spoke briefly and earnestly in favor
of a Pioneer Association which should collect the
materials of the early history of Western NewYork.*
— » • , *

Mr. Donald McKenzie, of Caledonia, an invi-
ted guest, followed in a few pertinent remarks on
the same subject.

Mr. S. G. Andrews, said this occasion brought to
his mind as a present reahty, the incidents and act-
ors in the stirring events which had been crowded
into the brief period since he first saw Rochester,
which was in the winter of 1815. He found
here then about 25 houses, stores and shops ; Ely's
old red grist-mill ; three saw-mills and a tannery :
all the rest of Rochester was a native forest. —
The Genesee was not then diverted to feed Erie
Canals, or to turn mill-wheels ; but a broad, d6ep
river rolled its unbroken volume down the falls,
sounding its solemn bass through the woods for
miles — sending up clouds of spray through a well
defined bow of promise to Rochester ; and lodg-
ing its congealed particles upon the shrubs and
trees, and hanging boughs on its bank, forming in
frost work domes, grottoes, and grained arches,
decorated wth pendant lustres, and crusted all
over with diamonds, which reflected the sun rays
and sent them off in lines of hght into the deep,
dark wilderness. It was a scene magnificent be-
yond description — such as no modern eye can b«-
hold ; for the Genesee river is devoted to other
purposes. — Such was Rochester in 1815, with it*
300 inhabitants. Now a beautiful city of over
30,000 population : over 30 churches and edifices
for religious worship ; as many public schools and
institutions of education : over 4,000 houses ; 100
mills and manufactories ; and not only " the larg-
est but the best manufactory of flour in the world."

Mr. A. related several incidents illustrative of
the generous sympathy which prompted the ready
helping hand among early settlers ; and spoke of
the influence and example of the original settlers
of the Genesee country and this city. They were
plain men ; plaui and unaffected in their inter-
course, style of living, and manners, and that in-
fluence is acknowledged in the common and just
saying, that " no species of dandyism can exist la
Rochester.'" They were men regardful of reh-
gion and its institutions ; their first work was to
set up an altar in the wilderness, and to provide a
place of rehgious worship, and their controlling in-
fluence is strikingly visible upon Rochester at this

Those men, said Mr. A., inscribed their own
epitaph more durably than upon crumbling marble;
for they impressed it upon the institutions, and in-
terwove it with the manuers, customs and fashions
of a great community to be " seen and read of all
men" — and if it might be deemed proper to name
individuals among those, all so worthy of remem-
brance, with respect and gratitude, he would inen>


t'm thwe of Oliver Gibbs, EUsba Ely, Fr-^derielc
Clark.and Natli. Rocliester. whope labor? and ex-
ample, njt less than the otheri, contributed to ihi
moral prosperity of Rochesttr.

Mr. Pec'i gave a very laughable account of onf
of the early militia trainings, in which there werf
•bout thirty men and two muskets, Mr. Barnard.
tie commanding officer, carri d a ramrn 1 for h
Bvord. The music consisted of a r^-al fife and
half of a tobacco barrel for a drum. The speakei
half insinuated that Mr. Era=tus Cook, one ot the
Pioneers p-'esent, was the filer on that occasion,
but the gentleman, though he could not put in a
positive denial, did not recollect the occasion di.-

Mr. P. went on to say : Although Rochester
was at the tim; he had spoken of, uninviting in
its appearance, presenting more thf aspect of a
village of stumps and trees than of houses and
people, yet the inhabitants were kind and cour-
teous to each other, and hospitable to strangers.
They seemed bound together by ties of friend-
ship and of common interest, and were united in
all their efforts to give character and respecta-
bility to the infant village. The foundation of
its future pro=perity had been well laid — the in-
stitutions of religion and morality had been firmly
established, and the whole community, con.

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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 2 of 6)