The Pioneer History of
 Orleans County, NY
Town of Kendall

By Arad Thomas

Online Edition by Holice & Deb




Partitioned between State of Connecticut and Pultney Estate -- First Settler -- First Marriage -- First Birth -- First Tavern -- First Death -- First Store -- First School -- First Saw Mill -- First Public Religious Service -- First Physician -- First Highway from Kendall Corners to Ridge -- Biographies of Early Settlers.

Kendall was named in honor of Amos Kendall, Postmaster general at the time it was formed from Murray, April 7th, 1837. From its location, being off the line of travel, and because the land was not surveyed into lots, and formally put in market to sell to settlers as soon as land on the Holland Purchase, settlements were not made as early as or as numerous as in towns on the Purchase. the State of Connecticut and the Pultney Estate had owned these land under a joint title, and for considerable time they remained undivided.

In July, 1810, Dr. levi Ward became agent for the State of Connecticut to sell their land on the 100,000 acre tract, of which Kendall forms a part. And in 1811 a formal partition of land between the State of Connecticut and the Pultney estate was made, and Mr. Joseph Fellows was appointed agent of the Pultney Estate.

Land offices were opened by these agents, and settlers were invited to come in and take lands. But few came into Kendall until after the cold season of 1816, and for some time after that they had difficulty in acquiring a good title bought of the Pultney Estate.

Samuel Bates, from Vermont, is said to have been the first white man who settled in this town, locating on lot 11, in East Kendall, in 1812. He cleared some land and sowed wheat, but did not move his family in until 1814.

David Jones, Adin Manley, Amos Randall, John Farnsworth, Zebulon Rice, Benjamin Morse, and Nathaniel Brown, settled in 1815.

Felix Augur, Rev. Stephen Randall, Ansel Balcom, George Balcom, Stephen Bliss James Weed, in 1816.

Ethan Graham, William Clark and his son Robert Clark, came in 1817.

The first marriage in town was that of James Aiken to Esther A. Bates, March 2d, 1817.

The first birth was that of Bartlett B. Morse, in November, 1815.

The first death was that of a son of Geo. Balcom, on 1816.

Hiram Thompson kept the first store in 1823. The first inn was kept by Lyman Spicer in 1823.

The first sawmill was built by Augur and Boyden, in 1819, and Gurdon Balcom taught the fist school in 1819.

The first gristmill was built by Ose Webster, on the site on Sandy Creek, now occupied by the mills of his son Ebenezer K. Webster, forming a nucleus for the settlement now known as Webster's Mills. Previous to the erection of this gristmill, the people of Kendall took their grain to Rochester, or to Farwell's mill in Clarendon, to be ground.

Farwell's mill was much nearest, but the road to it was almost impassable with a load, and the little mill had not capacity to do all the work in that part of the country.

The first religious service in Kendall was conducted by elder Stephen Randall, a Methodist preacher.

The fist physician who practiced in town was Dr. Theophilus Randall, though Dr. Rowell, of Clarkson, was frequently called.

When Mr. bates settled in Kendall there was no public highway in town. Settlers and others coming there usually left the Ridge a little east of Kendall and traveled a road which had been opened into what is now Hamlin; Thence west to Kendall. The first highway leading south from Kendall to the Ridge, was located and cut out by the early inhabitants without any public authority, from Kendall Mills following up the west side of Sandy Creek to the Ridge Road. This road is yet traveled a part of the way.

The first setters of Kendall were chiefly from Vermont, bred among the Green Mountains, and the change of climate, air, water, good and occupation they experienced in this new and comparatively level county, was attended with the usual consequences. They were almost all sick at times, and although the utmost kindness prevailed, and every one did all they could to help themselves and others to alleviate suffering, yet so few were well, and in this little rude huts furnished only with a most scanty stock of conveniences, short of provisions, and no place near where the common necessities for the sick could be obtained, some of these people suffered great misery. If the sometimes felt discouraged and wished themselves away, when they were sick they could not go, and when they got better they would not go, for they came here to make them homes, and with the stubborn resolution of their race they persisted in the work they had begun, till their fondest hopes were more then realized in the beautiful country their toils and sacrifices made out of the wilderness.

The principal settlement in town for several years at first, was in the east part, near the center. The Randalls, Bates, Clarks, Manley, and other leading men there were intelligent, and wanted the lights of civilization to shine into their settlement, if it was away in the woods. Accordingly they met together about the year 1820, and formed a Public Library Association. Among the names or prominent actors in this movement were H. W. Bates, Adin Manley, Dr. Theophilus Randall, Amos Randall, David Jones, Calvin Freeman, Orrin Doty, James M. Clark, Benj. Morse, Nathaniel Brown, Caleb Clark, and Noah Priest.

They raised by contribution among themselves in various ways, about seventy-five volumes of books, organized themselves into a society, elected their officers, and kept up their organization about ten years. Mr. Amos Randall was librarian, and these books were well read in that neighborhood, and the habit of thought and study thus implanted has borne its proper fruit in after years, in the number of intelligent and influential men who have grown up there.

They were too poor to each take a newspaper, and the nearest post office was at Clarkson. Several men united in taking a paper. When it came to the post office whoever of the company happened there first took out the paper, and the neighbors would come together to hear it read--those who did not contribute to pay the expense as well as those who did--and the paper was then passed to some other family and read over and over until it was worn out.

Salt water was early discovered in Kendall, and salt made there to supply the people.

In 1821, Mr. H. W. Bates and Caleb Clark dug a well and planked it up to obtain brine on Mr. Bates' farm and there they made about one thousand bushels of salt. They sold their kettles to a Mr. Owen, who made salt in them in the southwest part of the town. Salt making in Kendall was discontinued when the Erie Canal opened.

About the year 1825, a company of Norwegians, about fifty-two in number, settled on the lake shore, in the north-east part of the town. they came from Norway together and took up land in a body. They were an industrious, prudent and worthy people held in good repute by people in that vicinity. After a few years they began to move away to join their countrymen who had settled in Illinois, and but few of that colony are still in Kendall.

They thought it very important that every family should have land and a home of their own. A neighbor once asked a little Norwegian boy whose father happened to be too poor to own land, where his father lived? And was answered, "O, we don't live nowhere, we hain't got no land."

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


Transcribed by Holice B. Young

HTML by Deb

You are the Visitor to this USGenNet Safe-Site™ Since January 9, 2002.

January 2002