The Pioneer History of
 Orleans County, NY
Ridgeway
Biographies, Part III

By Arad Thomas

Online Edition by Holice & Deb

 

DAVID HOOKER.

David Hooker was born in Connecticut, July 9th, 1771. He married Betsey Saunders in 1795.

Mr. Hooker settled in Ridgeway, on lot thirty-seven, township fifteen, range three, in February, 1812.

Soon afterwards in company with Dr. William white and Otis turner, he was engaged in building the mills on Oak orchard Creek, since known as Morris Mills, which are now destroyed. He served in the war against Great Britain, and was at the taking of Fort Erie.

His wife died in March, 1813. He married his second wife, Polly Pixley, in February, 1814.

He built the framed house now occupied by his son, Perley H. Hooker, in 1816.

Besides his son Perley, he left one daughter, who still survives him as widow of the late Harvey Francis, of Middleport, N. Y. David Hooker died august 6th, 1847.

OTIS TURNER.

Otis Turner removed from Wayne County, and settled on the Ridge, east of Ridgeway Corners, in the year 1811. He was a farmer by occupation, but possessing intelligence and aptitude for business, he was frequently employed in public, official stations. With his brother-in-law, Dr. white, and David Hooker, he built a sawmill on the Oak Orchard Creek, between Medina and the Ridge, the second in town.

He was a Judge of the Old Court of common Pleas of Genesee County, before Orleans was set off, and he represented Genesee County as one of her Members of Assembly in 1823.

He was for many years a prominent member of the Baptist Church at Medina, being one of the few who took part in its organization. He died in Rochester, N. Y., August 14th, 1865.

THOMAS WELD.

Thomas Weld, father of a large family who bear his name, was born in Connecticut in 1771. He married Lorana Levins.

They first settled in Vermont, and moved to North Ridgeway in 1817.

Mrs. Weld died in 1820, and Mr. Weld, November 18th, 1852.

They had five sons and two daughters. The sons were Elisha, jacob, Andrew, Elias, and Marston. They all settled near their father. Elias now lives where his father did. They were industrious and thrifty farmers.

SAMUEL CHURCH.

Samuel Church was born in Brookfield, Massachusetts, in 1781. He married Ann Daniels. They settled in North Ridgeway, in 1816. Mrs. Church died in 1855. They had four sons.

WILLIAM N. PRESTON.

William N. Preston was born in Lyme, N. H., in 1781. His wife, Sarah Daniels, was born in Pembroke, N. H., in 1785.

They settled in North Ridgeway, a mile and a half north of the Ridge, in 1819.

His wife died October 3d, 1831. He died December 29th, 1841. He had three sons, Isaac, Samuel, and William.

JAMES DANIELS

James Daniels was born in Pembroke, N. H., in 1783. He settled in North Ridgeway, on the town line. A few years since he moved to Michigan. He was brother of Grosvenor Daniels. He four sons.

WILLIAM COCHRANE.

William Cochrane was born in Pembroke, N. H., in 1781. He married Rhoda Mudgett, of Pembroke. They settled in Ridgeway in 1819. They had four sons and three daughters. William Cochrane, of Waterport, is eldest of the sons.

WILLIAM COBB.

William Cobb was born in Massachusetts. He married Hannah Hemenway. They settled in Ridgeway in 1817. They had four sons and one daughter. He died on the farm where he settled, April 1st, 1855, aged sixty-six years.

SEYMOUR MURDOCK.

Seymour Murdock was born in Dutchess County, N. Y., in 1764.

He married Catharine Buck of Amenia. She was born in 1768. They moved from Greene County to Ridgeway in 1810, and located on the Ridge Road, about five miles east of Johnson's Creek. At that time there was not settler between Mr. Murdock's settlement and Lake Ontario on the north; none south to the swamp but Coon and Walsworth in Shelby, and east and west on the Ridge it was several miles to any neighbors.

The nearest post office, store or church, was at Batavia, thirty miles distant.

The nearest gristmill was at Niagara Fall, forty miles distant.

Mr. Murdock was one of the first settlers on the Ridge, in Ridgeway.

He had eight sons and four daughters. His sons names were Israel, John, Seymour B., Henry, Zimri, Jasper, Hiram and William.

Israel kept public house some fifteen years on the Ridge Road. he was one of the best business men in town. He died in 1831.

John died in Gaines, September 19th, 1866. Mr. Seymour Murdock died April 14th, 1833. His wife died September 7th, 1823.

GROSVENOR DANIELS.

Grosvenor Daniels was born in Pembroke, Rockingham County, N. Y., May 3d, 1793.

He married Sally Palmer, of Vermont, in April, 1813. She died in July, 1854, and he married Florinda Hicks, in 1855.

Leaving his family in Vermont, Mr. Daniels came to Ridgeway in the spring of 1815 and took an article of part of lot forty-seven, township fifteen, range three.

Robert Simpson came with Mr. Daniels and took one hundred acres adjoining his land. At that time there was no settlement between Ridgeway Corners and Lyndonville, in Yates.

Simpson and Daniels built for themselves a camp and began cutting the trees on their lands, getting their washing done and bread baked at Eli Moore's on the Ridge. After cutting the trees on five or six acres, Mr. Daniels went over to Canada to work a few weeks to get money, as he could get none in Ridgeway. After a few days he was taken sick with fever and ague, of which he not get cured until the next spring. Being unable to work, he returned to Vermont, where he arrived in December, 1815. The next winter he started to move his family to his western home, on an ox sled. He had sixty dollars in money and thirty dollars worth of leather. On arriving at Rome, N. Y., the snow went off and he bought a wagon, on which he made the remainder of his journey, and on arriving at his log cabin home he had spent all his leather and money but six cents, and owed six dollars for money he borrowed of a friend on the journey.

The next summer, 1816, was the cold season. He had not got his land fitted for crops' produce through the country was cut off by the frost, and Mr. Daniels found great difficulty in getting food for his family, but having recovered from his long sickness of the former year, and being strong and resolute, he work with a will and got through until he had raised something on his land.

Being among the first settlers in his neighborhood, he had raised produce and had it to sell to settlers, who came in abundantly for several years next after, and soon found himself in affluence, a condition in which he has ever since remained.

After a few year on the lot he first took up, he bought of Abner Balcom the farm he now lives on. having taste and ability for military service, he was commissioned Ensign not many years after he came here, and rose by regular promotions to Brigadier General in the militia.

He has been a prominent man in public affairs, and though he has never south official distinction in civil life, he has been honored with various town and local offices.

LAURA BAKER.

Mrs. Laura Baker was born in Bristol, Vermont, March 126th, 1799, and married Samuel Bostwick, February 4th, 1816.

In January, 1817, they emigrated from Fairfield, Vermont, in a wagon drawn by a yoke of three year old steers, to Shelby, N. Y.

While at Whitesboro, on their journey, their trunks were broken by thieves and robbed of everything valuable. This obliged them to sell part of their clothing to pay expenses by the way. They traveled in company with another ox team with another family of emigrants, averaging about eight to nineteen miles a day.

They remained the last night on the road, at Gaines. The snow fell that night a foot deep. The road was so bad and the steers so exhausted by travel and hard work, that Mrs. Bostwick was obliged to walk the last six miles of the way on foot, as she had come half the way from Vermont.

The house into which they, with the other wagon load of emigrant moved, was a nice log building with one door, no window or light except what came down the chimney or between the logs. It was then occupied by another family from Vermont, former acquaintances.

A few weeks later another family of acquaintances came on from Vermont and moved into the same house, where they all resided until other houses could be built.

The inmates of this cabin now numbered twenty-five person. Their furniture was two chairs, a spinning wheel and a few pieces of ironware. Their table was a chest, their bedsteads were round poles bottomed with bark, one on each side of the room, the other beds were made on the floor. Holes bored in the logs, in which pins were driven, supported shelves against the walls.

The next spring, while making sap-troughs, Mr. Bostwick cut his foot and was disabled from work four weeks. Mrs. Bostwick hired a few trees tapped, gathered the sap herself, boiled it in the house in a twelve quart kettle, a six quart pot, and a small tea kettle, and made one hundred and sixty pounds of sugar.

When the snow went off she made a garden in which she get gooseberry, raspberry, and blackberry roots which she found in the woods. She never feared wild animals that roamed in the forest, but she used to admit her hear of the Indians who frequently came along and remained all night, and she would watch and tremble with fear while they slept like logs on the floor, with their feet to the fire.

Having worn our the clothing they brought from the east, Mrs. B. bought a loom and made cloth for her family and others. She took in weaving of her neighbors, though the best she could do with it was to take it to Ridgeway Corners and sell it for four shillings a bushel, paid for in goods at a high price.

Mr. Samuel Bostwick died many year ago, and in the 1833 his widow married Mr. Otis Baker, a thriving farmer of Shelby.

In 1853 he disposed of his farm and moved to Medina, where they yet reside.

Married at the age of seventeen years, Mrs. Baker has passed a stirring and eventful life in things which belong to the settlement of a new country. She has passed through it all in triumph, from pinching poverty to the possession of abundance, she has traveled every step, and surrounded by kind friends and present plenty, she yet remains one of the best specimens of the noble women who did their part in bringing this county out of the woods.

NAHUM BARRETT.

Nahum Barrett was born in Hinsdale, N. Y. He married Sally Bennett of Westmoreland, N. Y., in 1805.

In March 1815, he removed with his family to Tioga County. His wife died there in 1820. In January, 1828, re moved to Ridgeway, and died there April 13th,. following, aged fifty-one years. He had nine children of whom the eldest is

LUTHER BARRETT.

Luther Barrett was born in Windham County, Vermont, in 1806. While living in his father's family in Tioga Co., for three years of the time it was five miles from his father's to any school, and when a school was opened nearer, young Luther, never had much opportunity to attend it.

In May, 1825, he left his father's family and came to Ridgeway and labored for his uncle, Amos Barrett, on his farm. He continued to work out by the month, until the year 1831 he purchased the farm three-fourth of a mile west from Ridgeway Corners, on which he has since resided.

He married Miss Almira Flood, February 18th, 1835. She was born in Londonderry, Vermont, January 2d, 1807.

They have four children, Sylvester F., Elsie A., married Henry Tanner; Medora P., and Lodema A. Lodema married Andrew Weld, and resides in Paxton, Illinois.

Mr. Barrett is a farmer, who by a life of persistence, industry and prudence, has accumulated a fair property, and by a life of honesty and integrity has secured a fair character. He enjoys the confidence of his townsmen and represented them as Supervisor of Ridgeway in the years 1857-8.

CHRISTOPHER WHALEY.

Christopher Whaley was born in Montville, Connecticut, June 16th, 1798. With his parents he removed to Verona, N. Y., in 1803.

He was educated as a physician at the medical institution at Fairfield, Herkimer County, and graduated as Doctor of Medicine, June 18th, 1819. In September, 1819, he settled in the practice of his profession at Shelby Center.

In February, 1832, he removed to Medina, where he resided until his death, October 26th, 1867.

Dr. Whaley married Mary Ann S. Coffin, March 20th, 1824. After her death he married Sophronia Martin, in 1841. After her death he married Carrie E. Perry, July 16th, 1863. His widow and three children survived him.

Dr. Whaley devoted his life zealously to the practice of his profession, in which he had a large ride and eminent success. It is truly said of him "he never refused his services to any on in need of them, whether they were rich or poor, and without taking into consideration the possibility of losing his fee."

ANDREW WELD.

Andrew Weld was born in Reading, Vermont, August 6th, 1804. He came to Ridgeway in the fall of 1817, in the family of his father, Thomas Weld.

They came in a wagon drawn by three yoke of oxen, being twenty-seven days on their journey. Mr. Weld settled on lot nine, township fifteen, range four.

Andrew resided with his father until he was twenty years old, then labored one year for his brother, Elfish, on a farm for one hundred dollars.

In February, 1828, he married Roxy Stockwell. She died May 9th, 1839. He married Clarissa Root for his second wife. She died December 22d, 1866, and for his third wife he married Mrs. Susan Downs.

Mr. Weld is a farmer, industrious and frugal who, in the honest pursuit of his chosen calling, has laid up a competence for his support and comfort while he lives.

WILLIAM JACKSON.

William Jackson was born in Duanesburg, N. Y., October 21st, 1799.

He bought an article for one hundred acres of land in Ridgeway, part of lot twenty, township fifteen, range four, in September, 1826. After building a log house on his lot, he returned to Onondaga County after his family and brought them to their new home the next February. His house was without a door or window or floor when he moved into it, but blankets for a few days were good substitutes for doors and windows, when he made a floor, and doors and lived comfortably. Prosperity attended his labor. In a short time he bought more land, which he has fitted and cultivated into one of the finest farms in the county.

Mr. Jackson married Martha Comstock, January 20th, 1822. They have had eleven children, seven of whom are living.

His father, James Jackson, was born in London, England, and emigrated to America in early life.

ELIJAH HAWLEY.

Elijah Hawley was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut, June 2d, 1792.

He married Rhoda Spencer in May, 1805. In May, 1815, he settled near Ridgeway Corners.

Mr. Hawley was a practical surveyor, and many lines of lands in Ridgeway and Shelby were traced and settled by his surveys.

From memoranda found among Mr. Hawley's papers after his death, made by himself, in 1814 the town of Ridgeway, which then comprised the present county of Orleans, contained six hundred and eighty-one inhabitants, one hundred and thirty electors, and but five freeholders worth two hundred and fifty dollars each.

He was appointed justice of the peace by the council in March, 1816, and Judge of Genesee County common Pleas, May 23d, 1818, which office he held until his death.

He was Supervisor of Ridgeway in 1818. He was appointed postmaster at Ridgeway Corners in 1816.

He died April 29th, 1820, leaving his widow and six children surviving. Merwin S. Hawley of Buffalo is his son.

JAMES JACKSON.

James Jackson, eldest son of James Jackson, was born in Duanesburg, N. Y., March 29th, 1798. He married Maria Marlatte, February 21st, 1819. He settled on part of lot twenty-township fifteen, range four, in Ridgeway, in February, 1823, where he has since resided.

He has been a successful farmer, overcoming by sturdy industry the obstacles of sickness, hardships, and the privations of a new country, by which he has been beset.

He has had ten children, nine of whom survive. His wife died December 13th, 1870.

JOHN LE VALLEY.

John Le Valley was born at Paris Hill, N. Y., May 31st, 1810.

His parents removed to Holland, Niagara county, when he was nine years old. His father died poor, leaving a widow and five minor children, of when John was eldest.

At the age of eighteen he commenced the battle of life on his own account, with a resolute will his only capital, and his father's family on his hands to provide for.

He first bought seventy rods of land adjoining the place on which his father had resided, and paid for it in work at seventy-five cents a day and boarded himself. On this he built a small house, into which he moved his mother and her children. He then bought on credit one hundred acres of land. On this he cleared and fenced seventy acres, built a house and barn, dug wells and made other improvements, and at the end of three years sold his farm for three thousand six hundred dollars. This he accomplished though to begin with he had not a dollar in money, no team, or stock or seed; but he did have good health, a strong will and a noble mother's wise counsel and encouragement, to which he was ready to listen and follow, in whose welfare he has always felt the most tender solicitude, who has always shared his house and home, and still survives at the age of eighty years, enjoying in the family of her son all that filial affection and abundant means can supply to make her old age happy.

In 1852 he purchased the farm he now occupies, parts of lot twenty-nine, and thirty, township fifteen, range four, in Ridgeway, containing one hundred and ninety-two acres.

He has built mill, worked a stone quarry, and cultivated his large farm with eminent success and become wealthy.

In 1852 he was appointed one of the Commissioners by the Legislature to re-survey the Ridge Road.

He has held carious civil offices in the gift of his fellow citizens.

He has been three times married, and is now living with his third wife, Seraphine M., a daughter of the late Joseph Davis, of Ridgeway, to whom he was married January 13th, 1856.

AMOS BARRETT.

Amos Barrett was born in Chesterfield, N. H., May 10th, 1778.

In 1802 he married Lucy Thayer, and soon after settled in Fabius, Onondaga County, N. Y. His wife having died, he married Huldah Winegar, December 20th, 1807.

In 1811 he bought fifty cares of land, part of lot fifteen, lying one mile west of Ridgeway Corners,. On the Ridge Road.

He started to move his family to their new home with a sleigh and horses and an ox team. One of his oxen broke his leg while being shod. He made a single yoke for his remaining ox, hitched him in the teach besides a horse, and thus performing his journey, his team attracting much notice in passing. The yoke is preserved as a valued relic by his children.

He crossed Genesee River on the ice, and arrived on his lot in Ridgeway, March 14th, 1812, and stopped with his neighbor, Jonathan Cobb, in his log house, eighteen by twenty-four feet square, which on this occasion contained twenty-six inmates.

Mr. Barrett soon built a log house on his lot and moved into that. Snow as deep that spring. He had no hay; as a substitute he dug up a few brakes of low land near and felled trees, on which his animals browsed, the poor horses surviving on such diet.

In June, 1813, war with Great Britain was declared and Mr. Barrett went with his neighbors under Capt. McCarty, to the defense of the frontier.

During this war, Mr. Barrett's family remained, while many other fled from the country.

Beginning in the woods, with fields to be cleared of timber before they could be made productive, with fever and ague to contend with, and privations of so many of the necessaries and comforts of civilized life to be born, it was sometimes hard for Mr. Barrett to meet the wants of his somewhat numerous family with the needed supplies. Food sometimes ran short, and but for the fish in the streams, and game from the forest, they might have had more suffering.

Mr. Barrett had a fowling piece with which he was a dead shot. He never had a rifle; and a trusty steel trap, which did good service on occasion, once detained a wolf who happened "to put his foot in it." Numerous deer, and occasionally a bear yielded to his prowess as a hunter, and furnished meat for the family.

Mr. Barrett paid three dollars per acre for the first fifty acres of land he bought. He had the sagacity to foresee that the price of lands would rise as settlements increased, and he secured to himself titles to a number of other parcels of land, and realized the rise in value as he had expected.

Mr. Barrett had seven sons and one daughter, all of whom he lived to see married and settled around him, with twenty-two grand children to perpetuate the family

He took pleasure in the last years of his life visiting the homes of his children. His social qualities made him a welcome quest always among all his acquaintances, by whom he was familiarly known and addressed as "Uncle Amos."

He was generous and kind to worthy objects of his bounty, but the profligate, dishonest and idle, found no favor at his hands.

He was a pioneer in introducing improved modes and implements in agriculture. He was the first in his vicinity to use cast iron plows in place of the old Dutch plow. A threshing machine took the place of the flail in his barn at an early day, a rude imperfect machine, but it was an advance in the right direction, and his neighbors were induced to draw their grain to his machine, and thus taught its labor saving power.

Mr. Barrett died in 1880, in the eighty-second year of his age.

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

 

Transcribed by Holice B. Young

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