History of Ontario Co., NY 

Published 1893

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CHAPTER XV 

HISTORY OF THE TOWN OF CANANDAIGUA

The earliest recollections of the town called Canandaigua were in connection with the Indian occupation of the region.  Near the borders of the present town was the once famous Seneca village, variously known as Onnaghee, Onaghee and Onahie, which are only modifications of the name Onagheh, the latter meaning "head," and from which we naturally and correctly infer that this locality was once a head or chief village of the Seneca Indians.  The Indian village of Canandaigua or Ganadarque, was an off shoot of this village, and was destroyed by General SULLIVAN in 1779. 

According to Hon. Lewis H. MORGAN, LL. D., who is the acknowledged standard authority on Seneca names, the name in the several Iroquois dialects is as follows: Seneca, Ga-nun-da-gwa; Cayuga, Ga-na da gwa; Onondaga, Ca-na-da-qua; Tuscarora, Ca-ta-na-ra-qua; Oneida, Ga-na da-lo-qua; Mohawk, Ga-na-ta-la qua; the signification being "A Place Selected for a Settlement," or, in other words, "the chosen spot or city," a fact itself of much significance in view of later events, for the Indian location or "spot chosen for a new settlement" was also selected by the Phelps and Gorham proprietary as their "chosen spot or city," after they had been compelled to leave the vicinity of old Kanadesaga; and a little later the same "chosen spot" was designated as the shire town of the county, and was therefore destined to become a somewhat important point in Western New York in the affairs of civilized white settlement as it had been formerly prominent in connection with the Indian occupation of the region.  However, as the subject of Indian supremacy and dominion is fully discussed in the early chapters of this volume, it need not be further pursued here, but rather may we give attention to the development and improvement of the town during its occupation by the whites. 

As is fully narrated in one of the earlier chapters of this work, in the year 1788 the region of country now including this whole county was sold by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to Oliver PHELPS and Nathaniel GORHAM, they representing an association of eastern capitalists.  As soon as they had secured the Indian title they at once caused the entire tract to be surveyed into townships, and each numbered by range and town.  For the purpose of better carrying out their designs, the proprietors made a location for a village at the ancient Indian site called Kanadesaga, also Geneva, but on running the eastern line of the Massachusetts lands it was discovered that the village was east of the so-called pre-emption line and therefore not within the purchase proper.  We may here state incidentally that Geneva was on the west side of the line, but owing either to error or fraud the line was so run  as to bring that village eastward of it and on lands claimed by other proprietors.

Whether error or fraud located Geneva east of the pre-emption line matters little at this time, but the circumstance was indeed fortunate for the after history of Canandaigua. The proprietary were compelled to change their seat of operations from Geneva, consequently in 1789 Mr. PHELPS caused township number 10, in the third range, to be resurveyed and allotted for more than usual townships and agricultural purposes. Moreover, the town was especially reserved to the proprietors for their own use, also as a county town, for it seems that the worthy proprietor even at that early day had in contemplation the erection of a new county out of the territory of old Montgomery.

Oliver PHELPS made generous provision for the future of the prospective village, and indeed carried out the New England custom of donating lands for county buildings, park and schools, and likewise laid out the main thoroughfare of the village of ample width, having a consideration for the personal comfort of the people as well as for private gain.

Col. William WALKER acted as agent for the proprietors, and to him has been given the honor of erecting the first house in the town—a log structure built during the year 1788, and standing on the east side of the main street, south of the square; the contract for the erection of this building will be found in the chapter of the town of Phelps. Two other dwellings were built during the same year, one for James D. FISH, and the other for Joseph SMITH, but none of these was permanently occupied by its owner until the following spring. SMITH soon turned his swelling into an inn, thus becoming the pioneer landlord of the vicinity.

Joseph SMITH was a prominent character at an early day at Canandaigua. He had been a captive among the Indians, and when set free he chose to remain among them. He was an open-hearted, generous man, and possesses many good qualities. As an Indian interpreter his services were often in requisition. He was in business in this region as early as October and November, 1788, as the following bills receipted by him, and yet in existence, will show: November 22, bill against William WALKER, for “Mogassens,” rum, salt, etc., £21:1s. Bill against William WALKER, for sundries furnished by Smith & Vrooman, to different persons, £8 04s. 7d. As no place is mentioned in the above bills, it is uncertain whether they were furnished at Canandaigua or Geneva, but from the following receipt for goods stored by WALKER on his departure from the place for the winter, it would seem that Canandaigua must at the time have been his residence, although on account of the familiarity and friendship of the Indians, the goods would doubtless remain undisturbed even if he was not permanently here during the winter:

Kanandaigue, Nov’r 19, 1788.

Bill of articles belonging to the Hon’ble Mess’rs Phelps & Comp’y, William WALKER, Esq’r, Agent.

1 Chest containing

1 Broad ax, 9 Narrow Do., 1 Bush Hook, 1 Fros and one hoe, 1 Drawing knife, 1 twist augur, 1 p’r Carpenters Chitzels, 1 Hand Saw, 1 nail hammer, 1 Iron Wedges, 1 Small Broken Chain, 1 Bake Pan, 1 Spider, 1 Skillet, 1 Earthen Plate, 1 Pewter Do., 1 Tin Qt mug, 1 case knife & 2 forks, ½ H. old Pewter, about 2 qts Salt, 1 Small Brass Kettle, Ring of Iron, 1 Crane Hook, 31 Candles, 1 Iron Hinge, one Sitting Pole Iron, 1 Door Hook and some small pieces of Iron.

1 Batteau, 3 Oars, 1 Paddle, 3 Setting Poles and Boat House, 5 Empty Barrels, and one Large Iron pot and one Grindstone.

Re’d the above Chest containing said Articles together with Said Batteau, Oars, &c and Empty Barels, into my care, all of which are to be safely kept and to be dielivered to William WALKER, Esq’r or to his order, when called for. Extraordinaries Excepted.

James PERRY    For Joseph SMITH

Joseph SMITH   Endorsed, Joseph SMITH’s Rec’t for Articles left at Canandaigua.

The memorandum book kept by Colonel Wm. WALKER contains the names of a number of people who were early on the ground in the new country and employed by him in October, 1788. The following are extracted therefrom: Colonel Hugh MAXWELL, surveyor, and Samuel WHEDON, BROWN and two others, assistants. Frederick SAXTON, surveyor; Wm. MARKHAM, Capt. CLEVELAND, Phinehas BLODGET and Ransom SMITH, assistants. Mr. CURTIS, surveyor, Joseph SALISBURY, Robert WHITE, Adner HICKOX, John FANNING, assistants.  William EWING, surveyor, Henry READING, Andrew EVERS, Benoni TAYLOR.  Four men on the road on the falls on the outlet of Canadaque, Cornelius DECKER, John JONES, E. PHELPS, John CULVER.  Also the following: David BAILEY, chain bearer, James PARMETER, Enos BOUGHTON, Sewell and Othniel GILBERT, James DUGAN, Rees STEVENS. 

The first permanent settlement in the town was made in 1789, when FISH and SMITH occupied their respective houses, and about the same time there also came to the locality General Israel CHAPIN, Nathaniel GORHAM, jr., Frederick SAXTON, Benjamin GARDNER, Daniel GATES, Daniel BRAINERD, Martin DUDLEY.  These pioneers were soon followed by others, and in the same year William WALKER opened his land office in the village.  First events followed one another in rapid succession, and from preserved records we learn that pioneer Samuel GARDNER opened the first store, while Major WILLIS taught the first school, beginning in 1792.  The first birth was that of Oliver Phelps RICE, and the first death was that of Caleb WALKER, both events taking place in 1790. 

Although it is well known that the settlement of this town began in 1788 and 1789, it is quite difficult to determine just when pioneership ceased, and equally difficult to ascertain the names of persons and families who are entitled to mention in that connection.  However, we may state that early settlements in the town began in the village and rapidly extended therefrom in almost every direction until the lands were well occupied and put under cultivation.  There was no separation of the village from the township until 1815, and for the purposes of the record the entire territory may be treated as a body so far as pioneership is concerned. 

The greatest difficulty which confronted the pioneers who sought homes in this region was that attending the journey from the east, and although the opening of a public highway engaged the early attention and efforts of those interested in the lands, and the State as well, it was not until the year 1790 that the old "State Road" from Utica to Canandaigua was opened; and even in the completion of this thoroughfare many of the emigrants took part, stopping on their journey for this purpose, and thus hastening the work to a successful end.  This road, however, was but little better than an Indian path, sufficiently opened to allow a sled to pass and the most impassable streams bridged, and it was not till 1797 when, on the 28th of March, the Legislature passed an "act for opening and improving certain great roads in this State," which provided for raising money by lotteries for such purpose.  Under the provisions of this act and through the energetic exertions of Charles WILLIAMSON, who made and secured large additions in contributions of money, and with the additional assistance of the inhabitants who subscribed 4,000 days' work, the state commissioner was enabled to complete the GREAT GENESEE ROAD of near 100 miles, opening it 64 feet wide and paving with logs and gravel the moist places through which it was carried.  Hence the road from Utica to the Genesee, from being in the month of June, 1797, a little better than an Indian path, was so far improved by the latter part of September that a stage route was established on it. 

The construction of the "turnpike" in 1803-4 opened a valuable thoroughfare to travel leading from the eastern country into the then comparatively wild Genesee region, and from the time of its completion, settlement and development increased with great rapidity.  An additional reason for this sudden influx of pioneers lies in the fact that in 1789, before the opening of the road, a new county had been created out of the territory of old Montgomery, and Canandaigua had then been designated as its seat of justice. 

The settlers of this region were fortunate in having a good mill in their vicinity, which aided them materially in obtaining lumber for their buildings.  During the winter of 1789-90 Judge Augustus PORTER, a pioneer of the region, agreed with General John FELLOWS, one of the proprietors of East Bloomfield, to join together in the erection of a saw-mill on Mud Creek, five miles west of Canandaigua, which was in due time accomplished. 

However, among the many important, and we may say fortunate, early events which contributed to the building up and development of this town, that which led them all was the erection of Ontario county and the designation of Canandaigua as the county seat.  The erecting act was passed on the 27th of January, 1789, and by it provision was made for the creation of towns under the name of districts, of which there were to be not less than two.  At that time the county included all the western part of the State, but the total number of inhabitants within its boundaries did not exceed 1,000.  Therefore, in the organization of the territory into provisional districts a large area of land was included within each, and, as a matter of fact, the entire county contained only six of these districts, one of which was Canandaigua. 

Following close upon the creation and organization of the county came the erection of the county buildings, for which the generous proprietors donated a suitable plot of land, situated on a commanding elevation, and in the most desirable portion of the village tract.  That Canandaigua was to be a county seat was of itself sufficient in importance to swell the local population and enhance materially the value of lands not only in the village but in the town beyond the settled hamlet.  Professional men, merchants, speculators and the ever attendant contingent of persons who are ready almost for anything, soon came to the town, and the result was that Canandaigua soon took a position at the head of the districts and afterward towns of the county.  Of the lawyers who made this their place of residence and business we have no positive record, but the first medical men of the town were Moses ATWATER and his brother, Jeremiah ATWATER, Samuel DUNGAN and William A. WILLIAMS, all of whom were here before 1800, while Dr. Moses ATWATER is credited with having settled in the town in 1791. 

Town Organization.--The district of Canandaigua was organized January 27, 1789, but there is no record of proceedings by which we can accurately determine either the extent of the district or its first officers.  However, the district did not long retain that distinctive character, for in 1791 it took the name of "town," and included within its boundaries townships 9 and 10 of the third stage, containing presumably 72 square miles of land, but in 1824, surrendered to Gorham that part of township No. 9 which lay east of Canandaigua Lake.  Therefore, as at present constituted, the town is 12 miles in length, six miles wide on the north boundary and less than three miles on the south line. 

The first town meeting (of which there is any record) was held on the first Tuesday in April, 1791, and was "opened and superintended" by Israel CHAPIN, esquire.  The records appear in the bold and perfectly plain handwriting of pioneer James D. FISH, and from the title line on the initial page it appears that the town was known to the early settlers as Canandarguay, for it must naturally be presumed that as Mr. FISH was so good a penman he must also have been at least a fair "speller," and that his rendition of the name must have been that recognized by the inhabitants at that time. 

At the first town meeting just referred to, the following town officers were elected: supervisor, Israel CHAPIN; town clerk, James D. FISH; assessors, John CALL, Enos BOUGHTON, Seth REED, Nathan CUMSTOCK, James AUSTIN, Arnold POTTER and Nathaniel NORTON; collectors, Phineas BATES and John CODDING; overseers of the poor, Israel CHAPIN and Nathaniel GORHAM; commissioner of highways, Othniel TAYLOR, Joseph SMITH, Benjamin WELLS; constables, Nathaniel SANBURN, Jared BOUGHTON and Phineas PIERCE; overseers of highways, James LATTA, Joshua WHITNEY, John SWIFT, Daniel GATES, Jabez FRENCH, Gameliel WILDER, Abner BARLOW, Isaac HATHAWAY, Hezekiah BOUGHTON, Eber NORTON, William GOODING and John D. ROBINSON. 

The foregoing list of first town officers will bring to the notice of the reader the names of perhaps a majority of the pioneers at that time, as the number of eligible freeholders was so small that nearly every one having an interest or ambition in that direction was freely supplied with office.  In this connection it may be interesting to refer to the succession of supervisors of Canandaigua from the organization of the town to the present time as follows: 

Supervisors.--Israel CHAPIN, 1791-95; Abner BARLOW, 1796-99; Augustus PORTER, 1800-1; Nathaniel GORHAM, 1802-3; (no record of 1804 and 1805); Timothy BURT, 1806-7; Hugh JAMESON, 1808; Ebenezer F. NORTON, 1809; Hugh JAMESON; 1810-11; Nathaniel GORHAM, 1812; Reuben HART, 1813; Phineas P. BATES, 1814; Eliphalet TAYLOR, 1815-16; John A. STEVENS, 1817; Nathaniel GORHAM, 1818; Lott REW, 1819; Harvey SANDERS, 1820; Phineas P. BATES, 1821; Francis GRANGER, 1822-25; Oliver PHELPS, 1826-31; Phineas P. BATES, 1832; Oliver PHELPS, 1833; Phineas P. BATES, 1834-36; Russell B. JOHNSON, 1837; Charles SHEPARD, 1838-42; William W. GORHAM, 1843-47; Jabez H. METCALF, 1848; Gideon GRANGER, 1849-51; Henry W. TAYLOR, 1852; Zebina LUCAS, 1853-54; Ebenezer HALE, 1855; Evander SLY, 1856; Charles SHEPARD, 1857; Charles COY, 1858-61; Jacob J. MATTESON, 1862; George COOK, 1863; John CALLISTER, 1864; J. Harvey MASON, 1865-67; Gustavus R. FOX, 1868; Frank O. CHAMBERLAIN, 1869-70; Charles E. SHEPARD, 1871-73; Frank O. CHAMBERLAIN, 1874; James S. HICKOX, 1875; John B. ROBERTSON, 1876-78; William L. PARKHURST, 1879-81; Thomas H. COST, 1882; Rollin L. BEECHER, 1883-84; Marion P. WORTHY, 1885; Matthew L. PARKHURST, 1886; Joel M. HOWEY, 1887; George B.SACKETT, 1888; Frederick W. BRYAN, 1889; Charles C. SACKETT, 1890-92; Frank O. SISSON, 1893. 

The attention of the first town officers was early drawn to the matter of surveying and opening highways; in fact this duty was about the first of importance which required the efforts of the proprietors.  From the lake running northward a distance of about two miles a splendid thoroughfare of travel was surveyed, but it was some time afterward that the road was fully completed.  This is now known as Main street, and was originally laid out six rods in width, but Mr. PHELPS had in view such grand possibilities for his chosen town that he increased the width to eight rods.  Cross street was laid out and ever afterward maintained as a six rod road. 

Returning, however, from this digression to the subject of early settlement in the town of Canandaigua, we may say generally that great difficulty is encountered in learning the names of pioneers, while the exact or even approximate date of their settlement in the town cannot be learned.  In a later department of this volume the reader will find sketches of many of the pioneer families in the towns, properly arranged and classified, and furnishing a reasonably complete biographical record of those named; wherefore in the present connection it cannot be considered necessary to furnish more than a brief allusion to the heads of pioneer families, with a mention of the general locality of their settlement. 

Over in the past part of the town, near the foot of the lake, at an early day dwelt pioneers Samuel ROGERS, Artemas LINCOLN and Charles GRIMES, the latter the owner of a fulling and cloth mill, an almost indispensable necessity in a new locality.  John VAN ORMAN afterward operated the mill and also acquired some fame as a landlord.  Liberty DAY was an early settler on the turnpike, and made brick in a small way, but his industry was greatly appreciated by the people of the locality.  Elihu TUPPER was a pioneer in the same region, and also became proprietor of an inn, and as well was the owner of a three-horse team, hence a man of some note in the vicinity.  He also carried a stock of goods and was a tradesman of the town.  Lyman and Arnold HAYS also were pioneers in the vicinity of which we write, and while both were farmers the former conducted a fulling mill.  Judah COLT, the first sheriff of the county, at one time lived in this neighborhood, on what was called the SHEPARD farm. 

In that part of the town north of the locality of which we have just written were a number of families of whom several can be recalled by name.  Zachariah TIFFANY was one of these pioneers and the head of a large family who followed in the parental footsteps.  In this vicinity also dwelt the CASSARTS and SHULERS, the FAUROTS and SANDERS, the latter settling here as early as 1795, and being a physician was regarded as a man of importance in the town.  In this neighborhood there also dwelt pioneers DE BOW and LATTING. 

West of the general locality just mentioned at a very early day were made settlements by Caleb GAGE, Thomas PIKE, Joseph CANFIELD, Stephen BISHOP, John GAGE, Levi BROCKELBANK, Chandler BURGER, James REEVES (a wheelwright), Eliphalet TAYLOR (a prominent man in town affairs), Oliver GLOVER, Charles CASSART, William CURTIS, and possibly others whose names are not now recalled, but all of whom by their efforts helped to develop the resources of the town, and laid the foundation for prosperity to be enjoyed by a later generation of occupants. 

In the northern part of the town, in the locality which has for many years been known as Paddleford, there settled at an early day a number of families of much prominence, and among whom can be remembered the names of PRICE, HUDSON, WALKER, TILTON and MARBLE.  The pioneer of this region is said to have been the first named settler, PRICE.  Paddleford as a village did not attain any prominence prior to the building of the railroad.  Lying to the west of Paddleford is situate District Number 20, so called, which is a part of the territory included by the settlement above mentioned.  Some of the old family names are still preserved in the locality but the pioneers themselves are all gone.  This section of the town was formerly known as the "Bacon Tract." 

The locality of the town lying southeast of the village of Canandaigua was settled very soon after the survey of the region was completed.

The lands here appeared to have been especially desirable, and settlers and speculators were active to possess them.  Lemuel CASTLE was one of the first to make an improvement in this vicinity, coming here in 1789.  CASTLE is said to have built the first frame barn for Mr. PHELPS in 1792.  Following CASTLE came other pioneers, among whom were John SUTHERLAND, Seth HOLCOMB (a settler of 1792, and also a hotel keeper), Ebenezer WILLIAMS, wheelwright and wagon-maker; Captain George HICKOX, a soldier of the War of 1812, but a pioneer of 1793.  Joseph VAN ORMAN, Daniel CASE, Giles MITCHELL and Hugh JAMESON were likewise early settlers in the same region, and are remembered as men of prominence and worth in the community. 

The country around Centerfield was also desirable as an early (and even present) place of abode, and was settled early.  Colonel Thaddeus REMINGTON and Abner BARLOW located here in 1790, while later on came other pioneers, among them David HAWLEY, Noah HEACOCK, Jesse MILLER, Isaac MORSE, better known as "Papa" MORSE, and popular at all country sports because of his ability as a fiddler.  Enos and Henry HAWLEY, Stephen WARD, Charles and Oliver JOHNSON, Harvey STEELE and Oliver ROSE were also early residents of this locality. 

A short distance south of Centerfield early settlements were made by Rev. Zadoc HUNN, who was a preacher of some note among the pioneers, and who settled here in 1795 and died in 1801.  Seba CASE came here in 1794, and was followed by Elijah TILLOTSON and George GOODING, both of whom were also pioneers.  East of the pioneers just named was a locality also occupied at an early day, there appearing the prominent names of SPENCER, TAYLOR, MOORE, ROOT, CASTLE, BUNNELL, BUTLER, and MACK, nearly all of whom are to be recorded as settling in the town prior to 1800, and the names of whom are generally represented in the locality at the present day. 

Along the west side of the lake the early settlers had no thought of erecting summer cottages such as now dot its shore, as their attention was directed to other enterprises, such as getting suitable buildings for family and stock, and earning a livelihood from the lands.  Pioneers Israel REED and and Miles HECOX, Seth LEWIS, Levi ROWLEY, Epaphratus NOTT, Christian SEAMAN, and the EATONS had but little time during the early years of this century to devote themselves to pleasure seeking on the lake, but with them, as with all pioneers of an undeveloped country, they were content to live frugally and in the enjoyment of such pleasures as a life of constant toil might afford.

 

THE ACADEMY TRACT 

In the extreme southeast part of the town is situated what was originally known as the Academy tract, containing 3,000 acres of land which was deeded and donated by Oliver PHELPS for the benefit of the Canandaigua Academy, from which its name was derived.  The tract was surveyed into lots, each one 150 acres, and these were in turn divided so that each occupant should have 75 acres.  According to the original purpose, these lands were to be rented, but they were gradually disposed of by sale and are now occupied almost entirely by owners.  This generous donation was made by the proprietor in 1804, but it was not until 1810 that settlement on the tract in fact began, and then the lots were taken quite slowly, as the lands were supposed to be unproductive.  The pioneer settler on this tract was named SANTLIFF, but within the succeeding three years the lands were occupied by at least 14 families, as follows: James CURRIER, John PENOYER, Jonathan CROKER, William WARREN, Solomon RIGGS, William HOLMES, Elias BASCOM, Robert McGILL, the Widow HOLMES, the pioneer SANTLIFF and other heads of families named OLDS, GORDON, BULLARD and DICKERSON. 

These first settlers not only developed and improved the lands for their personal benefit, but as well had a care for the spiritual and educational welfare of their families and descendants.  They built a primitive school-house, which was soon burned, and at once replaced with another, the latter being constructed under the watchful care of Deacon James CURRIER.  The building also served as a church until 1832, when a more suitable edifice for public worship was erected in the neighborhood.  In 1837 a substantial school-house was likewise built.  Both of these public institutions have ever since been maintained, and the inhabitants of the Academy tract are numbered with the substantial people of the town.  Their originally supposed poor lands have developed great productiveness, yielding fairly well to general agricultural efforts, while hops are also grown with good success.  Grapes, too, yield well under careful attention, though the lake region is more especially favorable to this crop than the western part of the tract. 

In the early history of the tract the majority of the people were members of the Methodist church, or society, and that denomination has prevailed even to the present day, although the membership of the Christian church has acquired large accessions in the locality.  The church edifice of this society was built in 1832, but later on was replaced with a union meeting-house, the use of which was made free to all worshipers of whatsoever faith. 

On the Academy tract is a central trading point and post-office, named "Academy Post-office," and around the locality has been built up a little hamlet, with the usual shops, store and other adjuncts of a rural settlement.  The first hotel here was established by Benjamin HIGHT, and was afterward kept by Joseph COY.  Deacon James CURRIER was the first millwright, and he followed that pursuit nearly half a century.

 

CENTERFIELD 

In the western part of the town of Canandaigua is a productive locality whose people are devoted chiefly to agricultural pursuits, and which is known as the Centerfield District; and near the center of the district is situated the little hamlet and post-office called Centerfield.  The pioneers of this vicinity have already been mentioned and we need only refer to this hamlet as a trading center and record some of its principal interests and institutions.  Oliver ROSE opened a store here about 1810, and was otherwise identified with the place in the capacities of school teacher and afterward distiller.  Justus ROSE, his brother, became connected with the business and the partners soon ranked as extensive dealers and operators.  They were succeeded by the later firm of Sackett, Fosket & Carter.  During their operations Centerfield was made a post-station with John FOSKET as postmaster.   

However, it must be said that Centerfield as a village or hamlet is of much less importance than its people could boast half a century ago.  It has been the home of no less than four church societies, yet none of them could maintain a permanent organization.  As early as 1796 Rev. Hamilton JEFFERSON formed a Methodist Episcopal class at Centerfield, and among its early members were Roswell and Hebzia ROOT, Ambrose and Lydia PHELPS, and Sarah MOORE.  Some years later "Coke's Chapel" was built, its first preacher being James GILMORE. 

In this connection also we may note the fact that a class was organized in 1808 at Sand Hill, which numbered among its members John JOHNSON, Elizabeth CASSART, Zachariah TIFFANY and wife, Betsey KNAPP and Catherine DE BOW.  However, upon the organization of the M. E. church and society at Canandaigua village, these outside classes gradually diminished. 

On the 12th of November, 1832, the Congregationalists of this locality organized a society, with 35 members, under the ministrations of Rev. Silas BROWN, Robert HILL and Edward BRONSON, and in 1833 the church was recognized and received by the Ontario Presbytery.  A church edifice was soon afterward built, the first pulpit supplies being S. S. HOWE, Jonathan LESLIE, Benjamin SMITH, Joseph WARE and Silas C. BROWN.  However, this society, like the others of the locality, soon began to lose its membership and hence its influence for good, and is not now in active existence. 

About the year 1830, under the pastoral care of Reverend POTTER, the Baptist worshippers of, the vicinity of Centerfield organized a society and built a church home.  However, misfortunes soon came to the society and reduced its membership and influence to such an extent that the property was compelled to be sold.  It was purchased by the society of Trinity parish of the Episcopal church, which was organized at Centerfield, September 23, 1832.  Among the prominent early communicants of Trinity church in this vicinity were George H. WHEELER, Linus GUNN, James BLAIR and wife, Asa HAWLEY and wife, Orlando MORSE, Ashbel TUTTLE and wife, Dr. Thomas WILLIAMS, Samuel SHROPE and Thaddeus REMINGTON.  The first rector of the parish was Reward KAMEY, followed by William HECOX and Rev. CHIPMAN.  This church and society, like its predecessors in the neighborhood, had not the numerical and financial strength to permanently maintain its organization, hence its services were less regularly kept up, and the result was the gradual decline of interest and practical final dissolution. 

The present business interests of Centerfield are briefly mentioned, and in fact consist of one small store, which together with one or two small shops, the village post-office, and a few dwelling houses comprise all that remains of a hamlet which once enjoyed some prominence in the town.  The local postmaster is W. L. HYDE.

 

CHESHIRE 

Among the outlying hamlets of the town, the pretty little village called Cheshire is the largest and most important, and that notwithstanding its location in the southern part of the town, remote from any railroad or other thoroughfare of travel that might contribute to its population or industries.  However, Cheshire is situated in the center of a highly productive agricultural region, and one which is well populated with thrifty and prosperous inhabitants, hence the hamlet is a natural and profitable center of trade. 

The village of Cheshire was no named by the inhabitants of the locality, many of whom were former residents of a Connecticut town of the same name.  However, the locality was earlier known as "Rowley's school-house," from the fact that a school was there built on lands of pioneer John ROWLEY, who came and settled here in 1795.  Other pioneers of the vicinity were Peter ATWELL and E. NOTT, both of whom acquired title from the Phelps proprietary.  Milton GILLETT, Levi BEEBE, Jonathan MACK, William BACON and Stephen WARD were also early settlers, in the Cheshire neighborhood, or in School District No. 5. 

In 1812 Jonathan BEEBE opened a store at the village, but not until two or three years later was there made any direct effort to build up a settlement in the locality.  About 1815 a number of families settled here, and about the same time, possibly a year later, John ROWLEY built a saw-mill on the creek.  He also run a distillery, which so annoyed some of the staid townsfolk of the locality that they left the settlement.  Some of the early merchants whose names can now be recalled, were William KING, Israel PARSHALL, Delano & Green, Lorenzo TILLOTSON, Harman COOLEY, Ralph HUNTER and Isaac WEBSTER.  Joseph ISRAEL opened a hotel here in 1818, and about that time the village promised to develop considerable size and importance, but later years turned the tide of settlement in other channels and Cheshire never attained any greater importance than that of post village, having daily stage and mail from the county seat.  A score or more years ago an effort was made to increase the industries and business interests of the village, and a carriage shop, steam mill and spoke factory were then in operation.  But as the place was comparatively remote from any railroad, no advantages in shipping or marketing were presented, hence a natural decline in business interests.  The mercantile interests of to-day are represented by two large and well stocked country stores, the proprietors of which, respectively, are Cyrus H. WILBUR, and Johnson LUCAS.  No industries are now permanently maintained in the village.  The present postmaster at Cheshire is Ralph HUTCHINS. 

The first Baptist Church society in the town of Canandaigua was organized at Cheshire in the year 1800, but after a life of vicissitudes covering a period of many years, this society, as was that formed at Centerfield, was merged in the stronger and more influential orgnization at the county seat.  Among the early members of the mother church were pioneers John ROWLEY, Hugh JAMESON, Lemuel CASTLE, Eli BUTLER, Fairbanks MOORE, Solomon GOULD, Jeremiah MILLER, David HURD, John FREEMAN and wife, Charity CASTLE, Rebecca ROWLEY, Chloe BUTLER, and Janette JAMESON.  The first meeting-house was built in 1832, the early services being held in convenient places in the neighborhood.  Elder Eli HASKELL was pastor of the society for almost 30 years, and Rev. A. S. LONG followed with a term of seven years.  Later on, as above indicated, the society began to decline, and eventually merged in the society at the county village. 

At Cheshire village is now located a union church, which is used mainly by the members of the Free Will Baptist Society, while other denominations have access thereto upon stated occasions.  The Baptist society was organized in 1840, and numbered in its membership some of the substantial inhabitants of the locality, among them Justus ROSE, Amasa SALISBURY, Lester HEILSE, Orin B. MORSE, Elias HUNTLEY, Wm. B. PROUTY, and Moses WARD.  The church edifice was built in 1840.  This society, like others of the locality, has experienced a varied existence, but the organization was of longer continuance.  The most recent officiating minister was Rev. John L. LANGWORTHY. 

The history of the town of Canandaigua is recorded in the growth and development of its abundant resources, in the lives of its pioneers and their families and descendants from the time of the first settlement to the present day.  In every school and church, in every industry of whatever nature, in every town meeting, is the history of the town also established, but the reader will of course know that a complete record of all events from the time of the survey of townships nine and ten is wholly impossible, but it is believed that enough has been herein recorded to inform the average mind of all that is needful for present and future purposes in the town. 

As has been stated in this chapter, the town of Canandaigua was organized in January, 1789, and at that time its territory included two townships of land, hence about 72 square miles of land.  However, in 1824 all that part of the town lying directly east of the lake was annexed to Gorham, and consequently reduced the area and population of Canandaigua.  The early settlement of the town was surprisingly rapid, and notwithstanding the hardships of the pioneer period, and the material check to immigration just preceding and during the War of 1812-15, there was a constant flow of settlers into the region, and the most desirable lands were taken and improved within the first 15 years of the town's history.  In 1830, six years after the southeast part of the town was set off to Gorham, the census enumeration showed Canandaigua to have a population of 5,162, and from that until the present time the changes in number of inhabitants have been as follows: In 1840 the population was 5,652; in 1850 it was 6,143; in 1860 it was 7,075; in 1870 it was 7,274; in 1880 was 8,363; and in 1890 it was 8,229. 

Educational.---While the inhabitants of the town have never been unmindful of their personal interests, they have at the same time shown due care for the educational welfare of their children.  Among the pioneers of the town every necessary effort was put forth to provide comfortable schools and competent teachers, and for this purpose the territory of the town was divided into school districts.  In some localities school-houses were erected and opened for attendance several years before the beginning of the present century, but it was not until the lands of the town had become fully occupied that the districts became regularly settled by established boundaries; and however interesting a subject for narration might be a complete history of the schools and school districts of Canandaigua, the absence of reliable records precludes the possibility of such a record, and we must content ourselves with a brief reference to the educational system of the town as it has for some years existed, and is still maintained; reserving, however, a further reference to the schools of the village as a succeeding portion of this chapter.   

According to the present arrangement, this town is divided into 19 school districts (with one union district in the village), in which there are employed 43 teachers, and in each of these districts, in addition to the customary branches, the pupils are specially instructed in the important branches of physiology and hygiene.  As shown by the last school census, the number of children between the ages of five and 21 years was 2,259, while the average school attendance amounted to 907.  In addition to the public schools, the town also has three private schools, with an attendance of 250.  In the town there are 22 school houses, and the total value of school property amounts to $122,850.  As shown by the reports of the commissioner for the year ending July 25, 1892, the total amount of money received for school purposes from all sources was $41,141.19, and of this sum there was paid to teachers alone an aggregate of $16,424.48.

 

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