The Pioneer History of
 Orleans County, NY
Biographies, Part II

By Arad Thomas

Online Edition by Holice & Deb



Samuel C. Lewis was born in Poultney, Vermont, June 5th, 1796. At the age of seventeen he enlisted in the United States Army as a soldier in the war of 1812, and served in a company commanded by Captain Miller, who was founder of the sect since known as Millerites, or Second Adventists. He was in the battle of Plattsburgh, and at French Mills. He served in the army about two years.

In February, 1816, in company with his brother Gideon, Roswell and Amos Clift, Elias Clift, and their sister, Esther Clift, who afterwards married Guy C. Merrill, he came in a lumber wagon drawn by two yoke of oxen, from Poultney, Vermont to Gaines, being twenty-five days on the road, arriving in Gaines march 19th, 1816.

Arba Chubb, a brother-in-law of the Lewises, with his wife and child, arrived in Gaines the day before Mr. Lewis and company, and moved into the log house built fy Mrs. Burgess, near where Judge Anderson now resides. The house ha not been occupied for some time previous, and was not in good condition to inhabit; but it was the best they could get, and the three Lewis brothers went there to stay with Mr. Chubb. They had cleared away the snow and got s good supply of fuel for their fire heaped up against the stoned up end of the house, which served as a chimney the night after their arrival, as the weather was stormy and cold, and the house had large crevices open between the logs.  

Mr. Chubb and his family had a bed in a corner of the room, while the three young men lay on the floor with their feet to the fire. in the night the great fire thawed out the old chimney, and the whole pile fell forward into the room, luckily, however, without crushing any of the persons sleeping there. Next morning they piled the stones back in their places and made a chimney that answered their purpose.

Mr. Lewis and his brother bought of Lansing bailey, an article for one hundred and twenty-five acres of land, lying at Gaines Basin, on which Mr. Bailey had built a lot house, which had not a shingle or nail in it, all pieces being fastened with wooden pins.

On this lot they labored clearing land the next summer, occupying their house, and getting their cooking and washing done in Mr. Bailey's family, on an adjoining lot, for which they worked for Mr. Bailey every seventh day that season to pay him.

Samuel C. Lewis married Anna Frisbie, in March, 1819. She died the next year.

January 30th, 1824, he married Anna Warner, of Cornwall, Vt., She died April 10th, 1841.

Mr. Lewis retains and resides on the lot of land on which he first settled.

He has walked and carried his knapsack on his back, twelve times the whole distance between Gaines and Poultney, Vt. Once he performed the journey on October, in six days, walking on an average nearly fifty miles a day.

In the year 1819, he had a tax to pay and wanted a dollar to make the sum required. To raise the money, he cut four cords of body maple wood and drew it a mile and sold it to Oliver booth for twenty-five cents a cord, and so paid his tax.


Gideon S. Lewis was born in Poultney, Vermont, September, 1792. He married Betsey Mason, daughter of the late Jesse Mason, of Barre, N. Y., in the fall of 1820. She died in September, 1842. He then married Betsey Shelley, of Gaines. He had four children, Lestina, who married Henry Cox; Homer, who studied medicine, and died some years ago; Augustus and Augusta, twins. Augustus is dead. Augusta married Alonzo Morgan. Gideon S. Lewis died, October 6th, 1865.

Roswell Lewis, brother of Samuel and Gideon, resided in Gaines about three years, then returned to Vermont.


Nathan Shelley was born in Hartford, Washington County, N. Y., March 17th, 1798. In May, 1812, with his father's family he removed to Gaines. His father settled on the Ridge road, two miles west of the village of Gaines.

War with Great Britain was declared soon after he arrived. After the defeat of the Americans at Queenstown, in October, 1812, many of the inhabitants on the frontier retired eastward, and Mr. Shelley took his family and went with them, but returned in December after.

Nathan Shelley married Doreas Tallman, May 21st, 1820. She was born in Washington County, N. Y., August 4th, 1795.

In 1821, he took up and settled part of lot forty-five, township fifteen, range two, on which he has ever since resided.

His first log house had but one room, only four lights of glass, and a bedquilt for an outside door, when he moved into it to reside in the winter of 1821-22.

Beginning poor, by a life of steady industry and prudence he became a wealthy farmer.


This somewhat numerous family in Gaines, are descendants of David Bullard, who was born in Dedham, Massachusetts, in 1761. He removed to Vermont, where he resided until September, 1814, when he removed to Gaines, N. Y., bringing with him as many of his children as had not gone there before. He first settled upon lot twenty-three, a little west of the village of Gaines, north of the ridge, on a farm which had been taken up by his son William. After a year or two he removed south of the Ridge, upon lot twenty-one--a farm now owned by his son Brigadier, where he resided until his death in June 1831.


Joseph Billings, Sr., the ancestor of this family, was born in Somers, Connecticut, and settled in Chenango County, New York, where he resided until his death.

He purchased of Isaac Bennett a large quantity of land in Gaines, which Mr. Bennett had taken by article from the Land company, which he afterwards divided among his sons, Joseph, timothy, and Lauren. Joseph and Timothy settled on this land in 187, and Lauren in 1822.

Joseph billings married Charlotte Drake. His children are J. Drake Billings, who married Melinda Shaw. Myron married Phebe Bement. Clinton married Esther Murdock. Harlow married Adeline King. William H. married Sarah Everett. Clarissa married Elijah B. Lattin. Helen married John Lattin.

Timothy billings married Betsey Bidwell. His children were Newton and Sanford, who died in early manhood, and Pomeroy, who died in childhood.

Lauren Billings married Roxana C. Rexford. His children are, Karthalo R., who married Catharine Murdock. Pomeroy O., who married Harriet Thompson. Loverna C. married Norman A. Beecher. L. Dwight. Simeon R. married Carrie E. Gray. Joseph F. married Josephine Eldridge.

Joseph, timothy, and Lauren billings, occupied adjoining farms, which they cleared and improved. Joseph and Lauren were each Justices of the Peace in Gaines for a number of years.

Lauren was a colonel in the State Militia. Joseph was supervisor of Gaines from 1837, to 1841, inclusive.

Joseph billings died December 10, 1866. Timothy billings died May 10th, 1837.


Arba Chubb was born in Poultney, Vt., September 18th, 1791.

He married Emily Frisbie, October 17, 1813. February 20th, 1816, they started to move to Gaines, N. Y., on a wagon, and arrived there after being twenty days on the road.

He bought a farm lying between the Ridge and Gaines Basin, and resided there until 1822, when he moved to Gaines Basin and bought a warehouse there and carried on business as a dealer in produce, and sold goods until 1840, when he moved to Gaines village, and from thence to Michigan, in 1856.

His first wife died in 1829. For a second life, he married Sally, daughter of David Bullard, of Gaines.

In 1821, Mr. Chubb was appointed by the council Justice of the Peace. He was after that elected Justice by the people of Gaines, and held the office thirty-three years, a vacation of one year only occurring during that time.

After moving to Michigan he was elected Justice of the Peace from time to time, until in the whole he served in that office 47 years. No man has held the office of Justice of the Peace in Orleans County as long as Esquire Chubb. He also held every other town office, but constable, and every office in the militia, from Corporal to Major, inclusive. He was for some time postmaster in Gaines, and Member of Assembly from Orleans county, for the year 1848.

Esquire Chubb describes a lawsuit tried before him soon after he was elected Justice, which occasioned him great trouble at the time. He gave the following account of it;

"Orange Butler was on one side, and a young lawyer named Capen, from Albion, on the other. I think they planned to give a sweat. The plaintiff put in his declaration. The defendant demurred. Plaintiff put in a rejoinder. The defendant a surrejoinder. The plaintiff a rebutter. The defendant a surrebutter.

About all this special pleading I knew nothing. I supposed, however, they would ask me to make a special decision; but what the decision should be, I knew no more then the biggest fool alive. There I sat, the sweat rolling down my face, inwardly cursing the day I was appointed Justice, and my folly in accepting an office I knew nothing about.

I think the lawyers saw my trouble, had pity on me and helped me out as well as they could, and went on and tried the case."

Esquire Chubb resides at Ionia, Michigan, and is now (1871) serving in his old office of Justice of the Peace.


The ancestors of this family originally emigrated from Scotland to Ireland, thence to Londonderry, New Hampshire, at an early day.

John Anderson, the ancestor of most of the families of his name in Gaines, was born in Londonderry, Aug. 31, 1757. He was a soldier in the Revolution, fought at Bunker Hill, and was at the taking of Ticonderoga under Ethan Allen. He married Jane Archibald in Londonderry, Feb. 7th., 1782, and settled in Ira, Rutland County,. Vermont, in the same year. He represented this town in the State Legislature eight or ten years in succession. His children were: Ann, Jane, John, Robert, Matthew, Betsey, Thomas A., Margaret, Nancy, Eli B. and Samuel F., all of whom were early settlers in Gaines, except Betsey, who died in Malone, N. Y., January 11, 1813.

John Anderson, senior, moved with his family to Gaines in 1821, and located on lot twenty-nine, township fifteen, range two, on the north side of the Ridge road, where he died October 22, 1827. He was a man of very great physical strength, of good intellect, energetic and persistent in his character. One of his rules of action was: Do what duty requires and conscience approves as right, with fear. Indeed he never showed fear of anything. Many instances are recollected of his cool and determined courage in cases of danger. In several conflicts he has with bears, he performed exploits as hazardous and full of daring, as Gen. Putnam's battle with the wolf.

One evening while he lived in Ira, dogs treed a bear not far from his residence. A number of men were present, but they had no gun. Mr. Anderson told them to build a fire around the tree and keep the bear up it until morning, and then he would go up and drive him down. The fire was made. Next morning Anderson armed with a club, climbed the tree to the bear thirty feet from the ground, and crept out on the limb on which he had retreated.

Disregarding the growls and bristling of the ferocious creature, Mr. Anderson went within reach and aimed a blow at its head with his club which the bear warded off and knocked the club to the ground. Nothing daunted, Mr. Anderson descended, got two clubs, and again went up the tree to the bear. Taking a club in each hand, he made motions to strike with his left hand, and when the bears' attention was attracted to these, he struck him a terrible blow on the hear with the other club, which knocked the body of the beast off the limb, leaving him hanging by his fore paws. A blow or two on his claws loosened their hold, and the bear was killed by the men below when he struck the ground.

Another tine while he lived in Vermont, being in the woods, he saw a bear coming towards him. Concealing himself in bushes on a steep place, he lay in ambush, and the bear passed him so near that with a spring he rushed upon him, and armed only with a stone, pounded his head until he killed him.

Ann Anderson married Daniel Gates of Rutland, Vermont, moved to Gaines in 1811, and settled on lot twenty-nine, township fifteen, range two. After a few years he sold this farm and moved to a farm in Carlton, where he died January 31, 1858. Mrs. Ann gates died January 1, 1866. Two of her sons, John and N. F. Gates, now reside in Carlton, and anther, Matthew A. Gates, resides in Yates.

Jane Anderson married Phineas Rowley, of Rutland, Vermont, moved to Gaines in 1817, and settled on lot thirty-township fifteen, range one. They both died several years after. Two of their sons, John and Andrew J. Rowley, are yet living in Gaines.

Margaret Anderson married John Farnham, Jan. 22, 1818. They removed to Gaines, Oct., 1824, and settled on lot forty, township fifteen, range two. John Farnham was born in Poultney, Vt., February 26, 1895, and died November 3, 1841. Margaret Farnham died in May, 1868.

Nancy Anderson married Solomon Kingsley, in Vermont and moved to Orleans County about 1819. They removed to Michigan in 1835 and died there.

John Anderson, Jr., was born in Ira, Vermont, Sept. 12, 1785. He settled in Gaines on lot twenty-two, township fifteen, range two, in 1810.

At the first town meeting held in Ridgeway, April 6, 1813, he was elected Overseer of the Poor. He was a man of positive character, a great lover of truth, withdrawing his confidence from the man who failed to keep his promises.

A neighbor owed him twelve shillings, which he promised to pay in a few days. Mr. Anderson replied he hoped he would, that it was worth a shilling to dun a man any time. In a few days the neighbor met him, spoke of his debt, and renewed his promise to pay.

As they met occasionally afterwards, the debtor would dun himself, but paid nothing, till one day having repeated his acknowledgment and promise, Mr. Anderson took out a shilling and handed him, saying, "Here is a shilling for you, we are now even. I have given you credit on account one shilling each time you have dunned yourself for me and broken your promise. Your credits balance your debt and one shilling over, which I have paid you. It is settled, don’t speak to me about again."

Eli B. Anderson was married in Poultney, Vermont, removed to Gaines with his father, and resided with him until his death, and occupied the same place six or eight years after his death, when he removed to Michigan.

Samuel F. Anderson moved to Gaines with his father, being then about eighteen years old. In 1836 he married Miss Mahala Phipps of Albion, and removed to Cassopolis, Michigan where he still resides. He has represented his county several years in the State Legislature and been Judge of County Courts.

Matthew Anderson moved to Gaines in 1816 and took an article of part of lot twenty-seven, township fifteen, range two, since known as the "Hunter Farm," a little north of Eagle Harbor, now owned by C. A Danolds and S. W. Kneeland. He cleared some land and built a log house on his farm. He died September 30, 1816. In 1815 or 1815, he represented the town of Ira in the Vermont Legislature. He was Captain of a company of militia, which under his command volunteered and went to meet the British at Plattsburgh in the war of 1812.

Hon. Robert Anderson was born in the town of Ira, Vermont, April 21, 1787.

In June, 1807, he was elected Lieutenant in the militia. In October, 1812, he was appointed Justice of the Peace in Rutland. He went with a company of volunteers to fight the British at Plattsburgh in the war of 1812.

In November, 1812, he came to Gaines and bought an article for 150 acres, part of lot 22, township fifteen, range two, to which he moved his family in 1816, and where he has ever since resided. Two younger brothers, Matthew and Dr. Thomas A. Anderson and their families came on at the same time from Vermont. The Dr. drove a two horse lumber wagon, which carried the women and children of the party, the other two men drove each a team of two yoke of oxen drawing a wagon laden with their goods, with a cow led behind each team.

They arrived in Gaines March 25th, having been twenty-five days on the road.

On arriving in Gaines, Robert Anderson moved into the log house the logs for which were cut by Mrs. Noah burgess in 1809. It was roofed with elm bark and had a floor of split basswood in most approved pioneer style. The next year he built a small framed house and lived in that.

In the summer of 1821, David Whipple and wife, parents of Mrs. Robert Anderson, came to Gaines from Vermont to visit their children. they rode in a one horse wagon with bolsters and box lumber style, covered with cloth over hoops. The seat was a chair wide as the box, splint bottomed, the posts standing on the steel springs of a wolf trap. This probably the first wheel carriage rigged with steel springs that run in Orleans County, and was much admired for its novelty and convenience.

Mr. Anderson and his wife started with her parents on their return to Vermont, to visit friends on the way. They went as far as Brighton, where she was taken sick and died. The death of his wife and the sickness prevailing in the country, with which he was attacked, so disheartened him he offered his farm for sale, and would have sold at almost any price, but no purchaser appearing and his health having improved, he concluded to stay. In august, 1822, he married his second wife, Miss Roxana Lamb, of Bridgewater, Vermont, who died March 26, 1837.

In 1840, he rented his arm to his eldest son and only surviving child, Nahum Anderson, to whom in a few years after he sold it, reserving the right to live on his family, during life.

In 1817, he was elected Lieutenant of a militia company in Gaines, and resigned at the end of a year. The same year he was appointed a Justice of the Pace, which office he held until the winter of 1822. In that winter, he was appointed Judge of the Court of Common Pleas of Genesee County, an office he held over two years and resigned. In the spring of 1818, he was elected Supervisor of the town of Gaines, an office to which he annually elected as long as the town of Gaines belonged to Genesee County. After Orleans County was organized, he was elected the first supervisor from that town, to serve in the first board sitting in the new county, in 1826, by whom he was appointed chairman, in consequence of his experience as a Supervisor.

In the session of 1822, he served as a member of the State legislature, being one of three representatives sent from the county of Genesee.

Judge Anderson was never ambitious to hold public offices, generally taking office only when it was offered him without his asking, and resigning the first proper opportunity. He was regarded as a man of sound judgment, honest and faithful, and shared largely in the confidence of all who knew him.

For some years past he has lived quietly, retired from the cares of business, possessing a competence of property acquired by his own exertions, happy in the society of his many friends, enjoying a pleasant home.

Dr. Thomas A. Anderson, son of John Anderson, was born in Ira, Vermont, May 4th, 1792. He married Sarah Whipple of Malone, N. Y., and moved to Gaines, as above stated, in 1816, and located at Fair Haven, or Proctor's Corners, in the town of Gaines, where he practiced his profession for some time in company with Dr. Truman S. Shaw, who afterwards practiced in Knowlesville, and Yates, and died a few years since in Medina, Orleans County, N. Y.

Dr. Anderson had practiced medicine several years in Rutland, Vermont, before coming to Gaines. He was esteemed a skillful physician, and had as much business as he could do. he was constitutionally feeble, never had good health, and died September 2d, 1829, leaving one child only, a daughter, now wife of S. Dewey Walbridge, of Rochester, N. Y. His wife died April 22d, 1829.

The Pioneer History of Orleans County, NY, By Arad Thomas


Transcribed by Holice B. Young

HTML by Deb

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