The Pioneer History of
 Orleans County, NY
Village of Medina

By Arad Thomas

Online Edition by Holice & Deb




Saw Mill by Land Company -- Evan's Grist Mill -- Canal Feeder -- Nixon's Brewery -- Coan's Store -- First Tavern -- First Merchants -- Physician -- Attorney -- Quarries -- Justus Ingersoll -- Baptist meeting House.

The territory included in the village of Medina was mainly covered with forest trees when the work was begun here on the Erie Canal.

Mr. Joseph Ellicott had, at an early day, located a large tract of land here of the Holland Land Company, including the rapids in the Oak Orchard Creek, but settlement was commenced at Shelby Center, nobody at that time expecting a village would grow up here.

Mr. Samuel F. Gear build a sawmill for the Holland Company or Mr. Ellicott, on the falls in the Oak Orchard Creek, in Medina, about the year 1805, and about the same time the Salt Works were established at the brine springs, north of the village. This mill was a cheaply constructed affair. No roads leading to it were made, and before the war of 1812, few settlers located here. They could not get their logs to the mill for the distance and bad roads. The mill was not kept in repair and soon tumbled into ruins.

Mr. Ellicott rented out the salt works, but working them was impracticable, and not much salt was made there until the springs came into possession of Isaac Bennett in 1818.

Mr. Sylvanus Coon opened the first store in 1824, before the canal was finished, and some small establishments for selling goods to those working on the canal soon followed, but the opening of navigation was the signal for commencing the improvement of the water power on the Creek and building up the town.

In May, 1825, David E. Evans laid the foundations of his large flouring mill, afterwards owned by William R. Gwynn, standing on the race near the railroad.

This mill was built of stone, John Ryan master mason, and finished in 1826. It was finally burned in December, 1859.

The State of New York built dam in the creek at the time the canal was bug, and made a raceway to carry the creek water into the canal, as a feeder. This race proved too low for the purpose and was abandoned.

In 1825 Mr. Evans made an arrangement with the State, under which he raised a dam higher up the stream, and connected this by a raceway to the canal. Evan's drew water from this raceway to turn the mill, and sold water power to others to be drawn from his race.

Joseph Nixon built a brewery here about the year 1827. After a few years it was turned into a distillery, and malt liquors or whisky were made there for several years.

This brewery was burned three times, and the site is now occupied by Bignall & Co., as a foundry.

Uri D, Moore kept the first hotel, on Shelby St., in 1824.

Ashael Woodruff, and brother were merchants here in 1826.

John Ryan, mason, settled here in 1827; Simeon Downs, blacksmith, in 1825; Dr. -------- Rumsey, the first regular physician, in 1827. Dr. Lathrop followed soon after.

The first attorney was Nathan Sawyer. The first carpenter, Samuel F. Gear. The first iron founder was Simeon Bathgate.

The post office was established in Medina in 1829, and Justus Ingersoll was the first post master.

David Ford and John parsons were tinsmiths. Otis Turner, and Chase and Britt were grocers. Clark and Fairman were early merchants.

The first fire company was organized August 16th, 1832

The first bell in a steeple was raised on the Presbyterian Church in 1836.

This was the first bell in the village, and the only church bell between Albion and Lockport for several years. It was rung a number of times every day to regulate the hours of labor and rest of the inhabitants.

A town clock was afterwards procured and placed in the steeple of the Methodist Church, to serve in the place of so much bell ringing. The clock proving a poor machine was soon given up.

Justus Ingersoll, who had been a tanner in Shelby, moved to Medina in 1826, and built a large brick building for a tannery west of the creek, near the canal.

This was afterwards converted into a flouring mill, and burned December, 1858.

Mr. Ingersoll was justice of the peace, postmaster, Indian agent, and Judge of the Court of Common Pleas of the county, and an active man in village affairs.

The first religious society organized in Medina was the Episcopalians.

"St. John's Church in Medina" filed a certificate of incorporation in the county clerk's office under that name November 12th, 1827.

Rev. Richard Salmon, missionary, was then in charge.

Bishop Hobart held the first Episcopal service by a Bishop in Orleans County, in this church September 7th, 1828.

The corporate officers of the church for its first year were Justus Ingersoll and Richard Van Dyke, Wardens.

Christopher Whaley, Elijah Beech, John B. Ellicott, Joseph Nixon, Henry Yerrington, Benjamin W. Van Dyke, Jonas S. Billings, and Hezekiah R. Warner, Vestrymen.

Mr. David E. Evans gave the church a piece of land on which to erect their church edifice, the foundations of which were laid in 1831.

The first religious services were held in this building, in the basement, on Christmas Eve, 1832. Joshua M. Rogers was the minister.

The house was finished, and consecrated by Bishop Onderdonk, September 30th, 1836, where it now stands, on Center Street.

The Methodists filed a certificate to incorporate a society by name of "The First Methodist Episcopal Society in Medina." October 1st, 1830.

They filed another certificate altering their name, among other things, April 7th, 1834.

They commenced building their house of worship of stone, in 1833. In raising the roof the timbers gave way and eleven men fell in the ruins. No one was killed, some bones were broken.

The basement of this house was finished and used in 1834, but it was several years before the whole house was completed.

This house was taken down and rebuilt in 1850, and thoroughly repaired in 1869.

The Baptist filed a certificate to incorporate "The First Baptist Church and Society in Medina." March 14th, 1831.

Their first house of worship was a building put up for a barn in the rear of the brick hotel, on the southwest corner of Center and Shelby streets. This was lathed and plastered and seated, and used for religious meetings until their first meeting house was dedicated in the winter of 1832.

Their new church on the corner of West and Center streets was commenced in the fall of 1870.

The Presbyterians built the first building designed for religious worship in Medina, on the north side of Cross, near the corner of West street.

Deacon Theophilus cook commenced, alone and unaided, getting out the timber for this house. Seeing his zeal showing itself in faith and works, Mr. Ephraim Scovill joined him in the work. Others followed with thier labor and contributions, till a building about thirty by forty-five feet was erected, in which the Presbyterians worshipped from about 1830, to February 17th, 1836, when their new church edifice was dedicated.

The first house was then used for school purposes several years, when it was sold to the roman Catholics, who moved it upon the same lot with their church, built an addition to it, and it is not their school house.

The Presbyterian Church was organized with seventeen members, march 19th, 1829.

The Presbyterian Society was incorporated August 27th, 1831, by name of "The Trustees of the First Society of the Congregational Church at Medina."

The first printing press in Medina was set up in the fall of 1832, and the first newspaper called "Medina Herald," published by D. P. Adams.

After the Erie Canal was located and surveyed through Medina, attention was called to this place as the probably site of a village, and about the year 1823, Mr. Ebenezer Mix surveyed and laid out the village for the proprietors and named it Medina.

Mr. John B. Ellicott, a relative of Joseph Ellicott, was sent here by the proprietors to superintend their interests, as local agent.

Mr. Artemas Allen came to Medina in 1822, and was the first mason who settled in the village. He had charge as master mason in building the aqueduct for the Erie Canal on Oak Orchard Creek.

The stone for this work were mainly obtained from the bank of the creek north of the canal. The remaining stone were from Shelby Center, or Clarendon, and a few from Lockport.

Mr. Allen built a large brick tannery and dwelling house for Justus Ingersoll, and a large stone building called the Eagle Hotel, which was burned some years ago.

Mr. Allen claims he first discovered the quarry of flag in stone at Medina, got out the first flags, and laid a number of rods of sidewalk in front of the resident of David E. Evans in Batavia.

The stone from which the water line used on the aqueduct was made were obtained between Medina and Shelby Center, burned on log heaps, and ground with an upright revolving stone.

Mr. Artemas Allen removed to Coldwater, Michigan, where is now living.

The village of Medina was incorporated March 3d, 1832.

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


Transcribed by Holice B. Young

HTML by Deb

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