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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(now Avon,) and from there being at the place a
very fine spring. There were, also, several other
persons living in the town — among them I recol-
lect a Mr. Nie and Paul Richardson, who a few
years aiter became the husband of Mrs. Israel
Stone, whose husband had died.

In No. 13: 4th Range, (Penfield) there was a
Mr. Lusk, i'rom Riclimond, Massachusetts, living
near the Irondequoit Landing, and a Mr. Allen
living on the north side of the West branch of the
Creek where the road leading from Rochester to
Pittsford, crosses. Mr. Orange Stone hved in
Township No. 13 : 7th Range, (novV Brighton,)
at the same place where he died a few years ago,
by the handsome Elm Tree and Big Rock. Mr.
Chauncey Hyde lived a short distance west of

This town was purchased by a company from
Lenox, Massachusetts, in the year 1789 — '90. —
Among the names of the first purchasers I recol-
lect Capt. John Gilbert, WiUiam Walker, Caleb
Walker, old Mr. Stone, Faflier of Orange and
Enos Stone, Mr. Northrop, Col. Chauncey Hyde,
Prosper PoUey, A. Egleston, and perhaps some
others. Old Capt. Gilbert was the surveyor who
lotted the town in 1789, with whom I became
acquainted that year (an excellent, worthy man).
He told me at that time that those of the proprie-
tors who had seen the town, were disappointed
and dissatisfied with tlie quality of the land gen-

erally, and with the great Marsh of the Ironde-
quoit, and a large Swamp at the south-west cor-
ner, and that they intended to sell out as soon,
and in the best way they could — and most of them
a few years after, did sell to Mr. Phelps.

This year, l(789,)Capt. Caleb Walker surveyed
Township No. 12 : 4th Range, (now Perrinton,)
into lots. He and his brother. Col. Wm. Walker,
purchased this town, and Glover Perrin with his
family settbd there, where they lived for several
years before any other settler came in, and until
Mrs. Perrin became partially deranged, when they
removed to Pittsford, where he resided until his
death. Caleb Walker died at Canandaigua in
1790. This Township Colonel Walker sold to
Daniel Penfield, and in 1797 Mr. Penfield sold to
Doctor Duncan, a Scotch gentleman, who lei't it to
his son, wlio lately lived at Canandaigua.

In 1789, Ebenezer Allen, (then known as Indi-
an AUen, from his having two squaw wives,) had
agreed to purchase a Mill site at the Genesee
Falls, and that year erected a small Grist Mill on
or near the place now known as Child's Basin —
the site was to contain one hundred acres. In
the year 1790, Ebenezer Hunt and others purchas-
ed of Phelps & Gorhain 20,060 acres of land in
Township number one, short Range west of Gen-
esee River, which was bounded west and nortii
by the north and west lines of the township, east
by Genesee River, and south by a line parallel
with said north line, and so far distant therefrom
as to contain said quantity, excepting, however,
and reserving one hundred ^cres which had been
previously sold to Ebenezer Allen. The recogni-
tiorrof this sale to Allen, in the deed by Phelps
& Gorham to Ebenezer Hunt and others, is, as
far as I know, the only evidence of title that Allen
ever had to that 100 acres. In 1791 I was at Al-
len's Mill, and the only person that I found living
at or near that place, was a Mr. Dugan, a brother-
in-law to Allen, who was attending the Mill.
* At this time there was hving at the mouth of
Allen's Creek, old Mr. Sheffer, who had purchased
the farm on which he lived of Ebenezer Allen in
1789 — and came there the next year. This was a
farm which Oliver Phelps gave to Allen for his
services while Mr. Phelps was negotiating with
the Indians for the purchase he made of them in
1788. Allen then lived on the farm, and from
him the Creek took its name.

The first settler between Shefl^r's and the Falls
as' far as I recollect, was Col. Josiah Fish, who set-
tled at the mouth of Black Creek, and tor several
years was the Supervisor of the town of North
Hampton, which embraced the whole of that part
of the State of New York, which lies west of
Genesee River.

In 1789, Hugh Maxwell, wlule employed by
Phelps & Gorham, surveyed the tract known
as the Mill site Tract, into townships, aiid in do-
ing so, he committed an error by running the west
line due ncrth and south, and the outlines of the
townships within the tract, in conformity with
that. It was afterwards corrected by running the
west line on a course corresponding with the gen-
eral course of Genesee River. This I ran in 1792.
This corrected line, which is N. 22 E., accounts
for the obliquity of some of the townsliip lines.


In 1797 1 surveyed the 20,000 acre tract above
referred to, into lots, and laid out the village lots at
Hanford's Landing. At this time a settlement
commenced at that place by Gideon King, Zadock
Granger and others. At the same time I laid
out the Allen hundred acres, conformable to the
description given in Phelps & Gorham's deed to
E. Hunt and others. This directed tha,. the cen-
tre of the tract, up and down stream, should be
the centre of Allen's Mill, and laid out in as near
a square form as the windings of the river would
permit. Old Mr. Hinshor at this time lived at the
mouth of the river, on the west side, andCol. J. Fish
lived at and attended the old Allen Milh In 1798
Eli Granger built a small schooner, at Hanibrd's
Landing. I was at that tune one of the propri-
etors of the 20,000 acres, and E. Granger came
to me and told me of the ridge of land now known
as the Ridge Road, and proposed to go and explore
it through to the Niagara River, provided I would
employ a man to go with him and furnish them
with provisions^ — which I did, and on his return he
gave what has since proved a correct account of
this remarkable road.

Yours respec'y, AUG'S PORTER.

[lieinarks of Mosts King, Esq.]
Mr. President : My Father came herein 1796,
and I think manifested more energy than his sons
— for he sent his goods by water, down the Con-
necticut River, up the Hudson and Mohawk into
Oneida Lake, then Lake Ontario and up the Gen-
esee to the Landing-^now called Hanford's, then
King's — and by their arrival had constructed the
dug way, so that his goods were delivered at his
residence. He made the road down the deep
Hollow — opened the road to the Lewiston Ridge,
and lived but 10 months in 1815. George Hill
and I spent evenings piling and burning brush in
front of the Court House, and during the summer
the brush and stumps got on iire on the north of*
Buffalo Street and corner of Fitzhugh, and raged
with such fury that it called out all the inhabitants
to preserve the few dwelhngs then erected and
erecting along State Street.

[Re?7iarks of C. J. Hill, Esq.]
Mr. Hill said : He came to this place quite
young in 1816 — came alone, having then no rel-
atives in this part of the country — he came sole-
ly as an adventurer. He would detain the meet-
ing but a very short time, especially as he saw be-
fore him so many Fathers — more remarkable Pi-
oneers, who had experienced so much more of in-
terest to the meeting — he would say, however, as
the privations of a new settlement were very fre-
quently and justly alluded to, that there were lux-
uries, also, incident to that state of society, at
any rate, it was so in the early days of Rochester.
He would speak of the fact, that the early Pio-
neers came here with very little property, having
in that respect, little or "nothing to lose, but every
thing to gain," hence the scope for hope and san-
guine expectations in an eminent degree — that was
a luxury.

Again, who that was here does not remember
the kindly sympatiiy, the feeling of mutual accom-
modation which was a leading characteristic of

our early settlers — was not that a luxury ? and
one which has sadly decreased with our growth —
as is found to be the fact in every place, as it pass-
es from infancy to manhood.

He would also allude to the luxury which was
enjoyed thirty-two years since in this City, now
containing between thirty and forty thousand in-
habitants, of the entire population then worship-
ing God, from Sabbath to Sabbath, in a one-story
building, about 15 feet by 24 — there being but one
congregation and place of worship, and that the
only school house.

For New-Englandtrs, there was another luxury
— I allude to the fact that the "heat and burden of
the day," in subduing the forest and rearing up
this new city, was, to a great extent, borne by ad-
venturers from their Father Land, and not only
so, but happily for the future moral character of
the place, these sons of New England very gene-
rally brought with them the principles and habits
which have always so favorably distinguished the
land of the Puritans. I

Finally he would mention but one other among
the luxuries peculiar to our infantile state, viz: —
that notwithstanding the large participation of New
Englanders in the enterprizes and vicissitudes of
our early forming State, other States, and even
Foreign lands were well represented — and what
he had here to note as of peculiar interest, was
the fact that, notwithstanding this seemingly hete-
rogeneous collection, they were in a remarkable
degree of one heart and mind regarding the essen-
Itial elements of society. They readily united in a
practicable demonstration of the importance of
morality and intelligence, as well as enterprize
and untiring industry, in laying the foundation
for after generations to build upon.

Mr. R. D. Hannahs, said he built and run the
first Boat on the Genesee River in 1818 — and
gave interesting details of early settlements.

Mr. JoAB Britton, gave an interesting ac-
count of his life and adventures in the Genesee
country, a hfe full of vicissitudes by land and

Mr. J. Packard, stated the fact that Rochester
in its early day whatever else it might have of
troubles — never had musquetoes — gave interesting
details of early times. He made the first stove
pipe manufactured in Rochester, and assisted in
making the first Iron Castings.

Mr. Andrews, Mr. Sampson, Mr. Ward, and
Mr. McKenzie, were appointed a Committee to
prepare and revise the proceedings for publication.

On motion of Col. Newton, the Executive
Committee of the former year were re-appointed-

After eloquent remarks by Judge Sampson in
regard to the importance of giving a substantial
and useful form to the acts and doings of the so-
ciety, Mr. Ward moved that the Executive Com-
mittee report a plan at the next meeting of the Pi-
oneers, for the permanent organization of a His-
torical Society of Western New York, which was
adopted, and Messrs. Sampson and Ward were
added to the Committee — the Committee consist-
ing of Enos Stone, Harvey Montgomery, Sam'l
G, Andrews, Moses Chapin, Aaron Newton, Jno


Packard, Cha's J. Hill, Atihley Sampson, L. A.
Ward, Silas 0. Smith and Hervey Ely.

Donald McKenzik, Esq., of Caledonia, Liv-
ingston county, (who will excuse ua for giving
him the cognomen of the "Laurie Todd," of Wes-
tern New York,) presented a mu nber of very val-
uable documents.

First — Mr. McK. says :
I submit for your consideration some extracts
from my Daily Memorandum Book in 1841 , which
may not be uninteresting to you.

The httle, hard, stony, swatnpy Town of Cal-
edonia is now reduced from its emp ire magnitude in
the year 1791, when the first town meeting was
held at Canawaugus, where the heroic revolution-
ary Capt. John Ganson was supervisor of all the
best part of our Empire State, I say the old town
of Caledonia is now reduced to an extent of a lit-
tle over 4 by 8 miles. Seeing that we homely
Caledonians, never get any of the great or hon-
orable premiums from the Agricultural or Horti-
cultural Societies, for the reason that we have got
work enough at home, I have concluded to lay
before you the following table of produce, com-
pared with the number of consumers^, which I had
long ago prepared for our scholars to work out as
a, sum in arithmetic, and to exhibit to our rising
generation the comparison between the value of
the actual producers, and the actual consumers in
our town of Caledonia, as compared with any oth-
er town in any country in the world, and I hereby
submit it to the minds, heads and luands of young
and old, to draw useful comparisons therefrom.

If we look at the census and statistics of Liv-
ingston County for 1840, as also a statement of
the votes given in the town of Caledonia, at the
Fall election in the same year, we will find that the
total population in Caledonia was 1983, of which
number 3.S3 were voters, and that the amount of
produce raised in our town for that year was aa
follows :

Bushekof Wheat, 118,610

or CO bush, to each inhabitant,
and 3.56 bush, for every voter re-
siding in the town.
Whole No. Horses in town in 1.S4U, ^04

" Sheep •• " 9,934

" Swine 3,556

Bushels of Barlev, 3,040

Corn, 15,450

Cords of Wood, 35,851

Bushels of Potatoes -31,880

Tons' of Hay, 2,405

Bushels of Oats, 24,415

Dairy Produce !^3,943

Orchard " il,901

Domestic Goods ,$2,025

Compare the above statistics, with those of
any other township, (the population being equal,)
either in Uncle Sam's land, or Aunt Victoria's,
and 1 will bet a big apple that you will not find
any better wheat producers than we Caledoni-
ans are, in ail the broad dominions of the above
named potentates. And 1 will furthermore
bet two big apples, that if you bring the little
County of Livjpgeton, and compare it in the same
way, that our countv will come off victorious

as to the amount ol produce compared with th«
consumers. Figures will not lie if you use them

Considerable of the cannie Scot leaks out in
this glorification of his own little town, but hip
brother Pioneers were all in too good humor to
take up the glove which friend Laurie threw

Tfte a.\!^}iid document is, as described by Mr.

Copy of the. New- York State Tax Roll for
ths totcn of North- Hampton, County of Ontario,
(famiharly known by the name of the Town of
the Two Rivers, from the fact that it wasboimded
on the east by the Genesee River, and on the west
by the Niagara River, north by Lake Ontario, and
south by Pennsylvania. )

By a Legislative act in the year 1797, no State
tax was to be collected in any part of the Genesee
country until the year 1800 ; and this, the first
State tax roll is dated Oct. 6, 1600.

The warrant is directed to Peter Sheffer, as Col-
lector, who resided in Wheatland since 1789 until
now, and signed fey Augustus Porter and Amos
Hall, Commissioners of Taxes for the county of

Cyrus Douglass, Michael Beach, Eli GrifSth
and Philip Beach, were made the Assessors.

Donald McKenzie, of Caledonia, has copied said
warrant and given his guessing recollections, re-
marks &,c.,onsome of the individuals, (except
si.xteen names which were torn from the first page,
together with the total valuation of Real and
Personal estate,) and the tax of each person as-

The Roll contains the names of the persons as-
I sessed, value of real estate — ditto personal, and
! amount of Tax. Mr. McK. has added — emigra-
ted from— emigrated to — pohtics in 1800 — and
j other remarks. We notice that,
I Peter Shaffer has assessed to him 4,000 acres of
i land at one dollar per acre — personal property.
: $260— total $44i60— Tax !$5,36. That samt
4,000 acres \s probably now worth bet%veen $200,-
j 000 and if 300,000. The land was all valued at
j $1 per acre.

This is a very valuable rehc of olden time, and
is placed on the files of the society for future ref-
■ erence.

Third, Mr. McK. gives "a list of Supervisors

, and Town Clerks of the town of Genesee, (i. e.,

all west of Kanadarkqua,) (first town meeting

held at Canawagus, April 5, 1791) as collected

by D. McK."

This list gives the year of the election — name
of Supervisor — name of Town Clerk — political
; principles — and price of Wheat.

The remainmg document presented by Mr.
McK., is a collection of facts and incidents con-
nected with the early Indian history of this coun-
try, together with a valuable e.ssay upon our treat-
ment of the Aborigines. We think our paper.«
would find this a most interesting article for their

Mr. B£Nj. B. BtossoM, said that he cam* here
to-day to mingle his congratulations with the pio
neers of this city and the to\mi around us; sntf


#M happy to lee >a theChair »a old friend, whose
pre3ence reminded him of days gone by, when 40
fears ago he was a corporal under his command,
in old Berkshire, Mass. His native place wa?
Cape Cod, within 40 miles of old Plymouth Rock
In the year 1778, his father, with a large family,
took a vessel on the south side of the cape and
sailed for Hudson, now a city on the North Riv-r
in this State. He there hired wagp^.s to carry
his little effects to the town of Lenos, Berkshire
Co., Mass. In the year 1811, said Mr, B., Ends
Stone, and he that was Col. Stone, of this place,
came to the blacksmith shop of my boss with
whom I then was serving an apprenticeship to the
trade of Vulcan, and with him made for them the
second set of saw-mill irons that were put in use
for this city of Rochester. Enos Stone then
offered to give me any spot I should choose on this
side of the river, if I would come when my term
of service expired.

In the year 1817, my father and I came here
and upon this ground where we now are, occupied
by the children of a deceased father, B. Blossom.
Sir, I here stand to-day, by the good providence
of God, as the representative of the Blossom fam-
ily, now the elder. In 1818, my father with his
numerous family started for Brighton with his car-
riage, and in it ten persons, and I with two teams,
a 6 cattle and 4 cattle team, drove by two hired
snen for the fer west as then called. I walked all
t' e way on foot save 5 miles before I arrived ai
Palmyra. I was 16 days on the road, and travel-
ed the last day from old Tkodp's tavern, 5 miles
«a8t of Palmyra. My lither wished to know of
me how the teams traveled the last day. I told
him better than any one day. Well, said he, !
supposed they would ; for, said he, Mr. Allkn
was praying for you all the d;iy. This was tht
Rev. Solomon Allen, who was the first minister
of Brighton and who first organized a church in
this town.

My father purchased what was then called the
Spafibrd property, in Brighton, and on it dug up
the stumps and built the house which goes by the
name of the old Blossom House.

I am now living upon the same place where we
firet settled, with the same old shop, in it the same
tools that I bouoht when I was 21 years of age.
the same old bellows with as good lungs as when
new and blows as good a blast as she did 37 years
ago in old Massachusetts. I am now able to per-
form as good day's work over the old anvil, save a
little eye sight, as when I was a boy of 21 years
of age. I am now, sir, 58.

Brighton, Oct. II, 1848.
Enos Stone, Esq., Chairman of the honorable
body of Pioneers of the City of Rochester and its
vicinity — Sir: As my health at present is suth
that I am unable to attend your annual meeting,
which I regret very much, I take this method to
inform you and your honorable body, that 1 came
in company with my father from the town ol
Phelps, near the east part of Ontario county, to
the town of Brighton, near the west part of said
county, in the fall of 1815. We chopped aboui
an acre and built a log house on the farm now
owned by Mr. Schans. We then returned to
Phelps to winter, and on the 3d day of May, 1816,

t we arrived in the eeid town of Brighton, and I
j have not been absent from said town one month
I at a time since. 1 savv several beers and frequent-
ly heard the wolves howl ^nd bark on the Pinna-
cle. I had several batti s with raitle-snakes, but
the hardest battle I ever had was with Mr- Ague-
and-fever, vviiich lasted about three months every
day ; and through the assistance of a kind Provi-
dence I conquered all.

Yours respectiuliy,


Ls Roy, (Fort Hill,) Oct. 10, 1848.

Col. A. Newton — Sir: 1 am too old to attend
the Pioneer J\v ilee and too illiterate to write any
thing that will amuse or instruct. Being no* 70
years old, I cannot expect to make much improve-
ment. I offer a few lines, which are at your dis-
posal, of course.

I came into this town in Nov., 1806, (42 years
ago,) — started frpm Connecticut 20lh October.
At Whitestown, (now Utica,) were three log
houses, one of which was a public house and kept
by a Mr. Backs. From Whitestown to Cana-
darqua, 112 miles, was a new turnpike, much of
the way through the woods and very muddy. —
Crossed Gene.-ee river in a wretched scow at Ca-
iiawagusand plunged into the woods 5 miles north
of Ganson's settlement, (now Le Roy.) We
were advised not to go into that dense forest of
heavy timber and a putrid atmosphere, for it would
never be settled and we would have the ague ;
but finding a brother there, who came on the .lune
before, concluded we would try it. Found our
brotherdown with iheagueandhome-sickenough;
but hearing that the ague never killed any one,
and that their health would be better when they
gi't overil, concluded to risque it. And now then
ten thousand wants rushed to our astonished vis-
ion. We wanted the trees cut down and burnt
up, and fences made ; we wanted log houses to
shield us from the storms of winter and summer ;
we wanted boards, nails, and glass ; we wanted
roads cut through the woods instead of marked
trees; we wanted log bridges made to keep our
horses and wagons from sinking ; we wanted
school-houses and meeling-houses built; we
wanted to send our children to school, and when
Sunday come we wanted to go to meeting, (some
of us I mean,) but we had no meeting-house and
no minister. After a while a minister arrived,
and then we wanted funds, for we were but a fee-
ble band ; and finally, by uniting with a lew pio-
neers in West Pultney, (now Riga,) we succeeded
in securing the services of a minister; and then
we wanted him ordained in the good old way.
To do this we had to send an express to Canadar-
qua to purchase some brandy and loaf sugar for
the momentous occasion ; and then we wanted a
place to meet to attune our musical powers, and
hearing of a .lew frame barn in Wes' Pultney, just
put up by Mr. Amasa Frost, (this barn is still
standing:,) the singers agreed there to meet for im-
provement, and there, on the loft on both sides of
ih" barn floor, we had seats erected for the choir,
where we poured forth melodious strains in antici-
patirn of the approaching ordination day. And
here I want to notice^a lady whom they called
Mrs. DjEKSMORK ; what became of her I know not.


She appeared to possess powerful musical talents
as well as poetic.

1 trust 1 shall he pardoned this digression, as I
began by eiiaitifraiing o r wants on our first arri-
val, but they were without number, and our itn-
niediate wants 1 had overh)okfd or loigotten. —
Wholesome bread and water were among the most
important items. VVflls ol svater we had none,
and it there were any springs ol water we knew it
not, nor where to li ok lor them ; consequently we
had to take our pail, dipper, and strainer to a pud-
dle of water red with soak''d forest leaves, strain
out the wiglers and fii! the tea-kettle ; in fact, we
could hardly disting ish it, by ihe appt-arance,
from good old hyson ; but we goti'ur pay in fever
an J ague. 1 had dru k brack sh water before an
did not think this would hurt me, and ihe mystery
is thai any of us are now alive. For meat, wihi
game was plenty, such as bears and wolves, owls
and rattle-snakes ; likewise deer were plenty, but
we had no rifles, lime, or patience lo spare —
squirre.s and pigeons were mostly used.

1 obtained two busliels (f sinaity wheat from a
Scotchman. As 1 ad no where to wash or dry
it, and hearing of a grist-mill down ai ihespring-',
owned by IVlr. John McKay, ^now Caledonia,) 1
took my svhcat on my h rse, rode down Allen's
Creek 7 or 8 miles, when 1 came to a dark dense
forest (now Mumford) of evergreens. J thought
it was a cedar swamp growing on a hill. Near
the center of this swamp, as 1 took it to be, 1
found a small hut, which 1 entered, for I was very
cold, it being lute iu November, 1806. Here 1
found a good fire, and the owner with several
workmen, was at dinner. 1 found the owner lib-
eral, interesting, and intelligent. He tidd me his
name was Donald McKknzie — that he was build-
ing a fulling-mill and making preparation lor wool

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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 4 of 6)