History of Ontario Co, NY & its People, Pub 1911,
Vol 1 , Pgs. 229 - 242
Kindly transcribed by Donna Walker Judge
A note from Helen Fox, Bristol Town Historian
Incidentally, the Town of Bristol was named for Bristol County, MA where the settlers originated at Dighton. This was the Dighton Purchase.
Many early Ontario Co. histories have said it was Bristol, CT but that is not so. We have a CD with birth, deaths and marriages for that County in MA and several of those born there are buried in the Evergreen Cemetery at Baptist Hill. The History of Dighton, MA has names of those who came here with Rev John Smith, the Coddings, Pitts, Simmons, and many of the other pioneers to Bristol.
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THE TOWN OF BRISTOL
LASALLE’s Visit to the Burning Spring - Incidents Showing Friendly Relations of the Indians with Early White Settlers - First Settlement by GOODING Brothers from Massachusetts - A Town of Many churches - The Bristol Fair Association - Hop Growing -Blooded Live Stock -“Muttonville” and Its Name.
By Sarah G. P. KENT
Unlike many of the surrounding towns, Bristol does not teem with any startling Indian incident nor any especially renowned historical event. To be sure when Louis PHILIPPE fled from the throne of France and was a refugee in America, it is quite likely he may have been in hiding part of the time in this township, as well authenticated data give an account of his sojourn in Richmond, the adjoining town on the west. Duke DE NEMOURS, too, might have been a passing guest, as he visited Honeoye.
However, one location in this town, the burning spring, has called forth marked attention. History repeats that in the month of August, 1669, LA SALLE, accompanied by DE CASSON and GALINEE, visited the Senecas. While the negotiations with the Indians were pending, the following event is recorded by GALINEE: “In order to pass away the time, I went with M. DE LA SALLE, under the escort of two Indians, about four leagues (ten miles) south of the village (Victor) where we were staying, to see a very extraordinary spring. Issuing from a moderately high rock, it forms a small brook. The water is very clear, but it has a bad odor, like that of the mineral marshes of Paris, when the mud on the bottom is stirred with the foot. I applied a torch and the water immediately took fire and burned like brandy and was not extinguished until it rained. The flame is among the Indians a sign of abundance or fertility, according as it exhibits the contrary qualities. There is no appearance of sulphur, saltpeter, or any other combustible material. The water has not even any taste and I can neither offer or imagine any better explanation than that it acquires this combustible property by passing over some aluminous land.”
The Earl of Belmont, Governor of the province of New York, gave these instructions to Col. ROMER whom he sent on a journey through the country of the Iroquois in 1700: “You are to go and view a well or a spring which is eight miles beyond the Snecks furthest castle, which they have told me blazes up in a flame when a light coal or fire brand is put into it. You will do well to taste the said water, and give me your opinion thereof, and bring with you some of it.”
“This burning spring,” as another writer has said, “is located near Bristol Center, about eight miles from the foot of Canandaigua lake, in a direct line south of Boughton Hill. The spring is on the south side of a small brook which empties through a ravine into the west side of Ganargua or Mud creek. The banks opposite the spring are from eight to twenty feet high, the spring being on a level with the bed of the brook. By applying a match, the water appears to burn and is not easily extinguished except by a heavy rain or high wind.”
While the Red man was the first possessor, there are few landmarks left of Indian occupation. One, of Sullivan’s memorable march in 1779, on his way to devastate and destroy the Indian fields lest they furnish supplies to the British army, was discovered a few years ago on the Benjamin HICKS farm now owned by George BUCKALEW. In digging a drain at the rear of the house parts of an old corduroy bridge were unearthed, showing that trees had been felled and closely laid together to enable the army to pass over a marshy place, on its westward journey to the Honeoye and Genesee country. There is still an old tree standing on John GREGG’S farm in the branches of which it is said that BRANT secreted himself and watched the passing of this army.
Criticism is often expressed on the unnecessary cruelties of SULLIVAN’S march. In some histories it is recorded that the Indians, after capturing Capt. BOYD, one of Sullivan’s picked men, who had been sent ahead to reconnoiter, near Geneseo, submitted him to terrible tortures and finished by making an incision in his abdomen, when a severed intestine was fastened to a tree. Then by sheer brute force he was driven around the tree until his entrails were literally wound upon its trunk. This cruelty, it is said, was incited by some British officers.
On the other hand, in the annals of Indian history, this is quite offset by the following incident: General SULLIVAN, in viewing a stalwart young Indian one day, was so marked in his admiration for the fine physique displayed that he openly remarked that “he would like the skin of that buck for leggings.” And sure enough the life of this glorious type of the red man was sacrificed that the passing wish of the General might be fulfilled. While there were undoubtedly cruelties on both sides, the Indians are united in affirming that their customary tortures were but simple compared to those which followed later with the coming of the Pale Face.
It is said that a small Indian village was at one time located on the rise of ground north-east from Bristol post office, on the land now owned by William ANDREWS. The land throughout this country presented unmistakable evidences of having been frequently burned over by the Indians. The practice is still in vogue in the far west and has been adopted by heavy stock owners to provide a fresh growth of herbage. The Indians undoubtedly resorted to this method to retain the game in the vicinity of their homes.
There were two Indian camping grounds on the lands of Edwin GOODING and Norman W. RANDALL. The camps were often resorted to after the commencement of settlement by roving bands of Indians, and these incursions of the primeval owners were viewed with uneasiness and annoyance.
The plow of the settler and the farmer of subsequent years upturned many a relic of an early age, when pipe and hatchet and other equipments of the Indians were fashioned with incredible patience from the hardest stone. Many of these are still in existence and greatly treasured in collections, Fred H. HAMLIN of East Bloomfield and Elias J. SPRINGSTIEN of Vincent both owning valuable collections.
The pioneers had more or less experience with the Indians, though their intercourse was generally of a most peaceable character. This story is told by the John MASON descendants: It seems that their first abode was a rude log cabin a few yards east of the present farm house, now occupied by a lineal descendant, Frank H. KENT. One day while Mr. MASON was away and his good wife sat quietly by the cradle in which her infant was sleeping, she was much surprised and frighted to see the blanket which served as a door pushed aside and two stalwart Indians stalk in. They immediately signified for her to come outside. There was nothing to do but obey. They soon made her understand that they wanted an axe. Axes were axes in those days, and her husband’s was a new one. She was not sure of its return. However, to show that they had no ill intent and only wished to borrow the implement, they passed into the house and laid their guns on the bed. Then she gave her assent and soon she heard them, at some little distance, chopping away at a tree, and later they appeared with their coveted prize, a large fat coon. Returning the axe, they redeemed the guns. On this farm mentioned, there is a deer lick, where when meat was scarce Pioneer MASON and his sons used to repair with their guns and lie in wait for the game that was sure to appear.
On the Richmond SIMMONS place, now owned and occupied by Lester DOOSENBURY, the Indians once lost a valuable horse. In commemoration of this event, a party of Indians would return annually and camp on the ground where the horse passed from this life into one in the Happy Hunting Ground. Upon the arrival, late one afternoon, of this little band, and as they were preparing their evening meal, the wife of Mr. SIMMONS, being of a hospitable nature, sent one of her children to the camp with a generous piece of her home-made cheese. The Indians accepted it with great pleasure and alacrity and, not being fastidious in their quisine appointments, at once crumbled the cheese into their soup that was boiling over the fire.
In 1788, eleven years after SULLIVAN’S campaign, the settlement of Bristol commenced. Some brothers named GOODING arrived from Massachusetts. It is said that one brother had been a Revolutionary soldier and it is quite likely that he had heard of this fertile country from some soldier pal, as many of the pioneers did seek homes from the interesting and glowing accounts of soldiers who had traversed this territory.
After clearing a few acres of ground, on which the brothers sowed wheat and planted turnips, all but Elnathan GOODING returned to Massachusetts. He, in company with an Indian lad named Jack BEARY, passed the winter in the rude log cabin which had been erected before the brothers’ departure. While history says they wintered on turnips and milk, it is still quite probable that they availed themselves of their opportunities and interspersed their menu with fish and game that abounded all about them. Unknown to Pioneer GOODING, Daniel WILDER was sojourning at Seneca Point and Aaron SPENCER at Burbee Hollow, each waiting the approach of spring and the coming of relatives.
In the early summer William GOODING returned with his family, accompanied by his brothers, and settled on lot No. 1. As William was a blacksmith, he soon erected a shop and engaged in repairing and manufacturing tools for the settlers, who now rapidly began immigrating to Bristol. A third settler on lot No 1, was Seth SIMMONS, who in 1798 built himself a house upon his purchase. He was useful as a carpenter and wrought at house building until his death.
As many of the early settlers were from Bristol, Connecticut, the town was named in commemoration of their native heath, Bristol was formed in January, 1789, and originally included all that which is now Bristol and South Bristol, or townships eight and nine in the 4th range, as described in the PHELPS and GORHAM surveys. In March, 1838, number eight, or South Bristol, was set off and separately organized. On Marcher 23, 1848, a part of Bristol was annexed to Richmond, but on February 25th, 1852, the strip was restored.
As has been stated, the town was formed in 1789, but it seems not to have been fully organized until 1797, the first meeting for that purpose being held on April 4. The justices of the peace, Gamaliel WILDER and George CODDING, presided, and the following officers were elected: Supervisor, William GOODING; town clerk, John CODDING; assessors, Faunce CODDING, Nathan ALLEN, and Nathaniel FISHER; commissioners of highways, James GOODING, Jabez HICKS, and Moses PORTER; constables, Amos BARBER, Nathan ALLEN and Alden SEARS, Jr.; overseers of the poor, George CODDING, Jr., and Stephen SISSON; overseers of highways, Eleazer HILLS, Peter GANYARD, Theophilus ALLEN, Elnathan GOODING, John SIMMONS, and Amos BARBER; school commissioners, Aaron RICE, Ephraim WILDER, and Nathaniel FISHER; collectors, Amos BARBER and Nathan HATCH.
In 1788, George CODDING and his family appeared, locating in the north-east portion. Pioneer CODDING had five sons in his family and their coming greatly added to the little community. The boys were John, George, Farmer, Burt, and William.
Other settlers of the same time or soon after were Daniel TAYLOR, Faunce CODDING, Marcius MARSH, Abijah SPENCER, Dr. Thomas VINCENT, Hezekiah HILLS, John WHITMARSH, Ephraim WILDER, Theophilus SHORT, Eleazer HILL, John TAYLOR, Samuel MALLORY, John CROW, John TRAFTON, Oliver MITCHELL, Alden SEARS, Aaron WHEELER, Samuel TORRENCE, Aaron HICKS, John SIMMONS, John KENT, Seth JONES, William FRANCIS, Solomon GOODALE, Luther PHILLIPS, Job GOODING, Joshua REED, Nathaniel CUDWORTH, Samuel ANDREWS, Benjamin ANDREWS, Zephaniah GOODING, John PHILLIPS, Thomas GOODING, David SIMMONS, Ephraim, Simeon, Benjamin, Raymond, and Constance SIMMONS, Jeremiah BROWN, Asa JAMES, Philip SIMMONS, Capt. Amos BARBER, Nathan FISHER, Abijah WARREN, Rufus WHITMARSH, Jonas and Joseph WILDER, James CASE, John CASE, James AUSTIN, Eleakim WALKER, Daniel SMITH, Tizdell WALKER, John MASON, Sylvanus JONES, JOHN CRANDALL, Azer JACKSON, Elias JACKSON, George REED, Ephraim JONES.
The home of the pioneer was of the most primitive nature. The house was built of logs, about twenty-five by thirty-five feet in size, with large stone chimneys built outside the walls. There were usually three rooms on the lower floor and one room above. There were no stairs but a common ladder was used for getting into the “chamber.” The largest room below was used as a kitchen, dining room, living room, and parlor. In each of the other rooms was a bed and one or two cheap chairs, perhaps a stand and chest, and in one of them was a trundle bed, which was occupied at night by from one to three children.
The “chamber” had no partitions and contained several beds. It also usually had from one to three occupants, so large were the families of that period. This room had but little other furniture, except at times the family loom and its necessary accompaniments. The floors of the rooms were of the most crude nature, and were of course without carpets and rugs. The roof was made of long split shingles, not laid very closely together, which afforded perfect ventilation and which in winter allowed the snow to sift through upon the beds and floor. In addition to its other uses, the large room on the lower floor of the house was made to serve the purpose of a hospital, when there was sickness in the family, which happily was not a common event.
In addition to doing the necessary housework, the mistress did most of the spinning and weaving for the material from which the common clothing of the family was made. Several years ago, in writing some reminiscences of her early life, Polly Mason MORSE, sister of the Hon. Francis O. MASON, and mother of the late Hon. Elihu M. MORSE, of Canandaigua, told in an interesting manner the following:
“My father, John MASON, was one of the first settlers of Bristol. He sat down on his farm in the year 1800, built a house of logs and therein put his little family. In 1803, Polly MASON, the one who writes this, first saw the light from that log house. I was rocked in one-half of a hollow log, with head and foot boards to keep the pillows and baby in order, and there I slept and dreamed my baby dreams, and was as happy as if my cradle had been made of rose-wood, while the long-drawn howl of the wolf was heard as he sought for prey. I was like all the daughters of Eve, full of mischief, playing with rag babies, making mud pies, and many other pranks that a child is heir to; but my mother was a practical woman, and when my eldest sister was ten years of age, and I was nearly eight, she introduced us to the spinning wheel. We had our stints. My sister’s was ten knots for a day; my own was seven, as I was not quite eight years old.
“Before I was fourteen, I was put in the loom to make cloth for the family, in which I became an adept, and now I must blow my own bugle. I don’t know of one now living but myself who can relate the fact. The month was October, my work weaving; I started the shuttle as the sun came up, working steadily on all day, and when the sun went down out of sight I had woven fifteen yards, set down every yard as I wove it.
“I well remember the war of 1812-13. Our second neighbor on one side was a captain in the militia. One morning as the day was coming, he rode to the door in hot haste, and told my father to get his French gun and cartridge box ready to go to West Bloomfield. He said the British and Indians had landed at Buffalo, and would be in Canandaigua before night. The two political parties at that time were Democrats and Federals. The Federals, some of them, laid the war at the door of the Democrats. All the men liable to do military duty were gone to Bloomfield, and we women and children were waiting for the Indians to come and take our scalp locks.
“They and the British burned Buffalo, then little more than a hamlet, but did not get to Canandaigua, and on the 10th of September the tars and marines on Lake Erie were seen to make the proud flag of Great Britain come down.”
First Congregational church - It has been said that Bristol is the town of many churches, and that there have been seven society organizations in the town since its first settlement. The oldest of these, and in fact one of the oldest in the county, is that known as the First Congregational church of Bristol, which was organized in January, 1779, although it is said Congregational services were held in the town at an earlier date and conducted by that earnest Christian worker, Rev. Zadoc HUNN. Mr. HUNN was followed by Rev. John SMITH. The first members were Isaac HUNN, George and Sarah CODDING, Ephraim and Lydia WILDER, Nathaniel and Hannah FISHER, Chauncey and Polly ALLEN, Marcius and Amerilus MARSH, William and Lydia GOODING, Samuel and Phebe MALLORY, Selah PITTS, Mr. FOSTER, James GOODING, Alden SEARS and Thomas VINCENT. Rev. Joseph GROVER was called to the pastorate, accepting and moving to the town in 1800. Other early pastors and supplies were Revs. Ezekiel CHAPMAN, Aaron C. COLLINS, A. B. LAWRENCE, Edwin BRONSON, Warren DAY, S. C. BROWN, Ebenezer RAYMOND, W. P. JACKSON, Mr. BRYSON, E. A. PLATT, Hiram HARRIS, E. C. WINCHESTER, Timothy STOWE, H. B. PIERPONT. Following are some of the names of the later ones: Pastors RANDOLF, YEOMANS, DEWEY, WOODCOCK, WHEELOCK, MANNING, OSTRANDER, WALTON, and SMITH.
In 1823 this church was under the charge of the Ontario Presbytery, but in 1844 it withdrew and became Congregational. The first primitive meeting house of this society is said by James H. HOTCHKISS to have been “the first edifice exclusively for the worship of God in the Genesee country.” It was built of logs and stood on lot 5, probably between the present site and Vincent. The second edifice was erected in 1813-14. It is a large, imposing old structure, with a high steeple crowned by the angel Gabriel as a weather vane. The building is in a good state of preservation, having lately undergone thorough repairs. The church has an endowment fund from the estate of George CODDING, one of the pioneers of the town. William Goodale FROST, president of Berea college, is the son of a former pastor of this church. Miss YEOMANS, a distinguished teacher in a colored school in the South, is a daughter also of a former pastor.
The first Universalist church of Bristol dates its actual organization back to the year 1837, though it is said that its teaching and preaching in the town antedated that time by nearly twenty years. The first church edifice was built in 1836 of cobblestones, and in the year following a society organization was effected, but the complete organization was delayed until February 2, 1872, the name, First Universalist Church of Bristol, being then adopted. The edifice was built in 1861, and a decade ago was remodeled, making it a very complete building for church entertainments, etc. The pastors of the church were William QUELE, Samuel GOFF, Orin ROBERTS, J. R. JOHNSON, C. DUTTON, U. M. FISK, George W. GAGE, J. M. BAILEY, J. R. SAGE, W. W. LOVEJOY, L. C. BROWNE, L. P. BLACKFORD, Henry JEWELL, J. F. GATES, S. G. DAVIS, G. W. COLE, F. B. PECK, E. B. BARBER, H. J. ORELUP, T. F. MAY, F. F. BUCKNER, L. D. BOYNTON. The present pastor is Rev. G. A. BABBITT. Miss Agnes HATHAWAY, who was born in the town and a member of this church, went to Japan as a missionary five years ago. She has been stationed at Tokyo and has been in charge of the Blackmer Home for young Japanese girls. She is now home on a vacation.
The First Baptist church of Bristol was organized February 7, 1805, numbering among its original members forty-two of the leading families of the town. However, before the establishment of the Baptist church of Bristol, the members had been allied with the Baptist church of East Bloomfield. For many years this church was a strong organization in town, and during its period of great activity Elnathan G. PHILLIPS, an ordained minister, and a son of B. Franklin PHILLIPS, a leading and influential member of the church, was sent as a missionary to India. He has translated the Bible into one or two of the native languages and has been made a D. D. by his denomination. He is at present stationed in the Province of Assam, about one thousand miles from Bombay.
Methodist Church - Other histories have said that “Methodist preaching began in Bristol as early as the year 1800, when Indian missionaries of the church came here and conducted public services for the inhabitants. This kind of service was continued throughout many subsequent years and in 1806 there were enough Methodists in town to form a class, which was reorganized and strengthened in 1815. In 1846 a complete church and society organization was effected. Ephraim and George GOODING, Abner and Alanson REED and Ward TOTMAN being the first trustees. The church property of this society is located at Bristol Center” and the society is actively engaged in all good work.
In the preparation of this chapter the writer was especially fortunate in having recourse to the first secretary’s book of the old Bristol Fair Association. This association was organized in January, 1851, with a membership of 128. The first officers elected were: President, Francis MASON; vice presidents, Elijah JONES and Norman HILLS; recording secretary, Norman W. RANDALL; corresponding secretary, Myron O. WILDER: treasurer, Arunah JONES. Besides the interests of the annual fair, the Association had something of the order of the Grange, with a literary character. The members would meet at stated intervals choosing a different school district each time. A paper on some farm topic, which had been prepared by one of the number, would be read, and then a general discussion on the subject matter would follow. Myron O. WILDER had the honor of making the first address. His subject was “The Farmer and His Position.” The secretary records that “He alluded to a good education as one of the greatest and most valuable resources of comfort and enjoyment to the farmer. That knowledge is found most valuable just in proportion to the greatness of the art to which it is applied. The farmer occupies a position which every day is commanding more and more importance. The produce of Agriculture is the first form of wealth. Where it is carried on most extensively, the farmer is held in high estimation and exercises an influence to which all would justly aspire, etc.”
Mr. Wilder must have been an advanced thinker for the farmers of that period, for in another address he urges the importance of the Government starting agricultural schools and experimental stations and recommends that the Government purchase Mt. Vernon for such an institution: that it be made a model experimental farm and the course of instruction include physical sciences, architecture, civil engineering, English branches, and an application of them to agriculture and its kindred employments. He suggests that appointments should be authorized from each Congressional district of such young men of proper age, morals, abilities and requirements as should be obligated under certain bonds with sufficient securities to serve as students and, after finishing the course, to devote a certain length of time to the farms in their own districts. It might be a source of great satisfaction for Mr. WILDER to know that in a way his wish had been gratified, and that there are now fifteen hundred young men and women studying Agriculture in our State.
“Fruit and Fruit Culture” was the topic of another meeting, in which General SISSON joined in the discussion. Over thirty different varieties of apples were exhibited. There was also a communication read on “Grain Cradles.” Solomon GOODALE and Elijah JONES discussed “Fences and Fencing” at another meeting. The question arose as to the time of year that was considered the best for cutting a post to insure its lasting qualities. Lewis BENTLEY had much to say concerning the durability of butternut posts. Seymour ANDREWS gave his experience in constructing stone fences. “Sheep Husbandry” was the subject proposed by Alanson B. SIMMONS, I. S. CORNELL, William DONELSON and Mr. SISSON were active in the debate. “Poultry Raising” was most thoroughly talked over by Phineas KENT, A. C. HATHAWAY, Norman RANDALL, Richard GOODING, Royal A. ANDREWS, Peleg HICKS, F. J. HICKS, and Seth SMITH.
The first fair was held at Bristol Center, September 16, 1852. Hon. Elnathan W. SIMMONS was marshal of the day and W. Scott HICKS made an address. In taking a cursory look at the judges, it is interesting to note how their specialties have been carried down and even now we are familiar with many of the descendants interested in these particular lines of stock. The judges on horses were William J. DONALDSON, Thomas HUNT, Seth PAUL, Jeremiah FISHER, Isaac BENTLEY, and Thomas GILBERT; on cattle, Phineas KENT, Elisha MATHER, Billings CASE, and Norman HILLS; on sheep. Darius NEWTON, Horatio SISSON, Benjamin F. PHILLIPS, Isaiah CORNELL, Orestes CASE, and Royal ANDREWS; on swine, Ezekiel CUDWORTH, Judah SISSON, Alphonso G. FISHER. Among the premiums offered to women were those for the best woolen cloth, “the best dressed flannel” (all home production), yarn carpets, rag carpets, bed quilts, butter, cheese, etc.
The following are some of the names of those who acted as judges; Mrs. Solomon GOODALE, Mrs. Richmond SIMMONS, Mrs. Elnathan SIMMONS, Mrs. Orestes CASE, Mrs. Billings CASE Mrs. Francis MASON, Miss Mary J. PAUL, Mrs. Phineas KENT, Mrs. Norman RANDALL, Mrs. Elijah JONES, Mrs. Moses TUBBS, Mrs. Henry HURD. Among the winners of discretionary premiums were: Miss Pheba SEARS, for a “Duster of Peacock Feathers:” Mrs. Erastus ALLEN, for a bed quilt and flowers: Mrs. William BAILEY, for a chair tidy: Mrs. Lucy GOODING, for a hearth rug: Miss Adelaide MASON, for a work stand; Miss Dora BARNUM, for a card basket: Miss Addia FISHER, for a cap and Uncle Tom’s Cabin quilt, etc.
The town of Bristol has been most widely known for its extensive hop fields, the raising of hops being one of its chief enterprises. It is said that at one time over two thousand acres of the twenty-three thousand composing the town area, were used in the culture of hops. Tradition has it that the first roots were brought in town by a man named BROWN, about 1835, but the first of which there is any authentic record were grown on the Clinton SEARS farm from roots procured from Charles PAGE, of East Bloomfield, in 1853. These hops were picked at one cent per pole and sold in Chicago for thirty-three cents per pound. The oldest hop yard in town is on the farm owned by the late Quincey A. SMITH. This yard was set in 1867. Among the prominent growers at present are Chauncey TAYLOR, Mark CASE, Mrs. Q. A. SMITH, Daniel SISSON, Daniel TAYLOR, George BUCKALEW, Earnest PARSONS, Garrett WHEATON, and Louis SCHAEFER. Distinguished growers of past years were John T. SISSON, Orestes CASE, John KENT, Oscar SISSON, Thomas HUNN, Youngs W. SMITH, and L. H. JONES.
Stock raising has always been one of the foremost industries. For many years Bristol was the home of “Old Henry CLAY,” a horse of great distinction and renown. In 1854, a syndicated composed of Albert and Zepheniah BAILEY, and Oliver KENT purchased him. The horse was brought from Long Island in 1845, by Col. W. W. WADSWORTH of Geneseo, who it is reported, purchased him at a dollar a pound. In Randolph HUNTINGTON’S book on General GRANT’S horses, he speaks of this horse as follows: “Henry CLAY was Arabian bred, strongly so: possessing the build, disposition and constitution of the Arab. His ears were fine and small, forehead full and broad, jaws deep, wide between and thin; eyes large and prominent, muzzle small, with thin lips and large thin nostrils; his limbs were fine yet powerful, while his very handsome feet were tough enough to go for all time barefoot, a peculiarity of the Arab. He was the founder of the entire family of CLAY horses, and his purity of blood was so great as to stamp his high physical qualities with instincts to a positiveness, outlasting that of all other families today. He was foaled, June, 1837, and died, April, 1867.”
Sheep raising was an important industry also. Nathan THOMAS, Billings T. CASE, and F. J. HICKS were prominent in the breeding of registered Merinos for western trade in the early ‘70s, but previous to this date thousands of sheep were slaughtered annually. Asa GOODING was the leader in this and for years he conducted an extensive business. From the location of his enormous trade in mutton was derived the appellation “Muttonville.” People drove their flocks to him from miles around. The fences on his own domains and on those of the surrounding farms were literally lined with sheep pelts. People oft remarked when a flock of crows were seen flying over, “There goes some of Asa GOODING’S hens,” so many were attracted there by the necessary accumulation of offal. Mr. GOODING did an immense business, slaughtering sheep, shipping the hams, selling the pelts, and making candles from the tallow. He was a public spirited man and good townsman, and probably did as much for this locality as any other citizen of Bristol. He erected the beautiful Gothic house now owned by Frank O. CASE at Vincent.
It is said that Bristol, in proportion to its population, has furnished a large number of officials for both county and State. Among these are four members of Assembly, viz: Elnathan W. SIMMONS, Oliver CASE, David E. WILSON, and Francis O. MASON, the latter of whom was also Assistant Adjutant-General of the State and County Judge. It has furnished two sheriffs, Phineas KENT and the present incumbent, Elias J. GOODING; one State Senator, Edwin HICKS, who was also district attorney for fourteen years: two county clerks, Elnathan W. SIMMONS and Washington L. HICKS; one surrogate, Elihu M. MORSE: one county treasurer, Spencer GOODING; a State Commissioner of Excise, Maynard N. CLEMENT, besides a large number of officials of lesser importance.
The French episode of the burning spring might have paved the way, as it were, for the once renowned oil well of mushroom fame, the flash-light illumination of which amazed and startled the law abiding citizens of Bristol. It proved, however, to be the artful maneuvers of some promoters, who did not strike oil, but who in their desire to rapidly enrich themselves secretly brought several barrels of kerosene from the county seat at night, which they surreptitiously poured into the well. Then, when they had exploited their great discovery of oil, and the people were ready to believe (for always there had existed an opinion of the probability of oil), the promoters excited the citizens to the highest pitch and proved their assertions by firing the well. The illumination was seen for miles around. Enthusiasm knew no bounds. This proved the psychological moment, a company was formed, stock sold, and an opportunity given for every citizen in Bristol to get rich. The promoters were on the eye of fulfilling their wildest expectations, when, presto! suspicious talk was circulated, a conspiracy detected, and the promoters judiciously and secretly folded their tents and left for parts unknown. While oil was never discovered, years later the incident might be said to have borne fruit. Less than a decade ago lands in Bristol were leased to a corporation known as the Ontario County Gas and Mining Company that was successful in finding gas. There are now wells which supply fuel and lights to many citizens in town, and also to residents of East Bloomfield.
At one time there were six or seven taverns in town, licensed to sell intoxicating liquors, but it is now seventy-five years since the sale of liquor has been legalized. Bristol yet has no railroad, but greatly enjoys the advantages derived from the telephone and the rural free delivery.
Bristol has a library located at the village of Bristol. This was established in 1900, through the efforts of the Bristol Women’s Club, and Rev. F. F. BUCKNER, who was then pastor of the Universalist church. The charter members of the Board were Rev. F. F. BUCKNER, William H. DOYLE, Mrs. Wells G. MARTIN, Mrs. John B. GREGG, Mrs. Frank O. CASE, Miss Mabel BLISS, and Mrs. Frank H. KENT. The library holds a charter from the State and now contains between thirteen and fourteen hundred volumes.
There are three small villages in town: Bristol Center, where the Bristol Center Creamery is located, and also the general merchandise stores of DOYLE and SISSON and Mrs. Frank SIMMONS; Vincent, where Mrs. Eugene ROOD has a general supply store, and Bristol P.O., where W. H. DOYLE does an extensive merchandise business. There are two resident physicians, Dr. W. Scott HICKS, at Bristol, and Dr. B. T. MCDOWELL, at Bristol Center.
Little is known of the early history of the schools of this town. It is a well authenticated fact, however, that Thomas HUNN taught the first school in town in 1790. At present there are twelve districts, all having good common schools.
Bristol was not wanting in war-time patriotism, for the names of over one hundred soldiers were enrolled, who enlisted from the town to fight in the war of the Rebellion.
The present town officials are as follows: supervisor, William M. SIMMONS; town clerk, Francis M. PIERCE: justices, Isaac N. KIMBER, Preston T. CASE, Mark A. FRANCIS, Frank FERRIN; assessors, William R. ALLEN, Charles R. SIMMONS, Charles R. KETCHUM; highway superintendent, George BUCKELEW; collector, Isaac N. KIMBER, Jr.; overseer of poor, William MURRAY; constables, Isaac N. KIMBER, Jr., John ROWLEY, George CLOHECY, Roy B. CASE; school directors, Clair R. SIMMONS, Clarienne A. I. GREGG.
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[NY History and Genealogy]