Town of Bristol History
History of Ontario Co, NY Pub 1878 pg 238 - 241
Transcribed by Dianne Thomas
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Town of Bristol
The history of a town is a recital of organization, development, prosperity, adversity, resource, enlargement and possibility. Fully and rightfully written, it is invaluable. The history of one is that in the main of all. Space limited, demands a brevity which rather suggests than expresses individual plans, efforts, impulses and experiences. The history of the town is especially of interest to its citizens - those native to its lands, and those now active in carrying forward the cultivation and improvement designed by pioneers, who from other towns and countries, or even States, have here made permanent location.
The natural features of Bristol make it a desirable home for lovers of hill and valley and diversified landscape. It is traversed by three parallel ridges, trending north and south, and varying in height form a gentle rise at the north, to an elevation at the southern limit of 800 feet, as found by actual measurement. These elevations are spurs form the Allegheny range, and from the northern limits of that system. Between the ranges lie pleasant, attractive valleys, traversed by the waters of Mud creek, and Egypt brook, the former of which supplies power to run a grist and saw mill. The cutting of timber has had its effect in reducing the volume of water flow, and a heavy rain, once a supply requiring a long time to find its way to the channel, now creates a torrent, which rushes along its course and leaves behind a shrunken stream. The soil of the valleys is a rich alluvial, amply rewarding the labors of agriculture, and approving the discreet choice of those who preferred this section to the more level northern towns. Upon the hills and declivities lies a surface of clay and gravel whose blending favors production. Although the hills attain such an altitude, they were so molded in the east of nature as to be in the main arable, and by no means, sterile.
Diversity of surface determines industrial pursuit. The principal occupations of the present inhabitants are stock raising and hop culture. Not only has the adaptation of lands to grazing been appreciated and approved, but with great care many farmers have labored to secure the choicest breeds of sheep, horses and cattle. Over 2,000 acres of the 23, composing the town's area, are used at present in the culture of hops. The cereals are successfully cultivated; winter and spring wheat is raised; the numerous orchards supply many thousands of bushels of apples, while the products of the dairy, butter and cheese are complimentary not only to the industry of the people but the fertility of the fields.
The town had not only a wile and attractive natural scenery, but had been rendered historic, not alone in the recent but in the far distant past, by its natural curiosities and supposed subterranean wealth. It has been noted that when LA SALLE visited the village of the Senecas, to obtain a guide to the source of the Ohio, in 1679, his explorations during that period were extended "four leagues south" from Boughton Hill, in Victor, to see a famous spring long known to the Indians. From the manuscript relative to the visit, we learn of "water issuing from quite a high rock; it runs a small brook; the water is very clear. I applied a torch, and immediately it too fire like brandy, and was not put out until it rained. There is no appearance of sulphur or saltpeter, or any other combustible material, and it has no taste." From the description it is evident that the spring on lot 32, is the one to which allusion is made. The igneous gases suggested deposits of rock oil, and many futile attempts have been made to realize from here the oleaginous flow which, in the carboniferous regions of other States, have made men opulent. Other curiosities are present in the shape of beautiful waterfalls located upon the small streams which flow from the hills into Mud creek. These seem like microscopic reminders of the grand scenes of the California Yosemite. These falls in Bristol are from 50 feet upwards. One tiny cataract in volume and notable in depth, having a perpendicular fall of 80 feet, has become a favorite resort for parties in search of pleasure; it is situated on lot 17, upon the premises of N. W. RANDALL.
The hills and valleys of all this region were crowned by a growth of timer whose partial preservation would have enriched the surviving purchasers or their descendants at this day. Upon the flats grew the maple and the elm, while on the hills predominated the oak and chestnut, intermingled, with which were the pine, beech, hemlock, ash, basswood, hickory, poplar, whitewood, elm, butternut, buttonwood, wild cherry and other varieties common to the clime.
A small Indian village was at one time located on the rise of land northeast from Baptist Hill, on land now owned by George ANDREWS. The land through-out this country presented unmistakable evidence 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 aboriginals undoubtedly resorted to this method to retain the game in the vicinity of their homes. That the Indians had long dwelt here, and reluctantly yielded their tenacious hold, is well known to those living. There were two Indian camp grounds on the lands now owned by Edwin GOODING and Norman W. RANDALL. These camps were often resorted to after the commencement of settlement, by roving hands of Indians, and these incurious of the primal owners were viewed with uneasiness and annoyance. The plow of the settler and of the farmer of subsequent years upturned many a relic of an early age, when pipe, hatchet, and other equipments of the Indian were fashioned with incredible patience from the hardest stone.
The march of Sullivan's army in his campaign of 1779 lay through the northern portion of this town. His column entered the town on lot No. 3, crossed Mud creek on lot No. 4, and followed the Indian trail to Honeoye (Haneyuh). It is said that there are still in existence relics and openings through the woods, that distinctly indicate the rout along which the army moved. It is known that the survey of the Genesee country was made by range lines, numbering from one to seven, and numbers as high as fourteen. Enormous tracts were early sold at extremely low rates. ON June 29, 1789, Prince BRYAN of Luzerne, Pennsylvania, conveyed to Gamaliel WILDER, of Hartford, Litchfield county, Connecticut, 21,490 acres of land, for which the consideration was $1,657 pounds, New York currency. This track lay principally on the west side of the (Cahnandahquah) Canandaigua lake, and was No. 9 in the third and fourth ranges. "The town of Bristol was formed by the Court of Sessions of Ontairo County in January 1789. It was named by the early settlers after Bristol county, Massachusetts." The Bristol of that date included South Bristol, which was detached and organized in March 1838. The present town includes only No. 9, in the fourth range, and was purchased for the Dighton company, at the rate of 50 cents an acre, by Rev. John SMITH and Calvin JACOBS, in whose names the title was vested. The town was first surveyed and laid out in tiers of lots, north and south, commencing at the north east corner, and numbering from one to sixty. Each lot was intended to contain 400 acres and to be 108 rods wide, but the survey gives a variance of from 100 to 112 rods.
The settlement of the town of Bristol commenced in 1788. In that year several brothers named GOODING, came into the town, and cleared a few acres of land on lot No. 1, and sowed it to wheat. A turnip patch was put it, and it rendered good service. At the approach of winter, all but Elnathan GOODING returned to Massachusetts. This solitary outpost, in company with an Indian named Jack BEARY, passed the winter in the log cabin that had been erected by the party previous to their departure. They do not seem to have availed themselves of the fish which swarmed in shoals in the streams and in the lake, nor of the bear and deer, whose presence was daily observable in tracks or presence about their dwelling, since they are said to have "wintered upon turnips and milk."
Elnathan GOODING was therefore the pioneer settler of Bristol. Unknown to him Daniel WILDER was sojourning at Seneca Point, and Aaron SPENCER at Burbee Hollow, each waiting the approach of spring and the coming of relatives, and anticipating the steady work, which was to give them a home.
In the following spring or summer, William GOODING returned with his family, accompanied by his brothers. William settled on the farm now occupied by S. R. WHEELER, and Elnathan upon that of F. CARTWRIGHT, both farms being on lot No. 1. William had been a Revolutionary soldier and was one of tat class who believed in the future of his country, and expected the growth whose reality had been so surprising. The need of a blacksmith was apparent form the start, and that was his trade, he soon erected a small shop on the corner, and engaged in repairs and the manufacture of farming tools. With the growth of settlement came increase of patronage, and his anvil was kept in steady use. At the first election of the town officers, held in 1797, he was elected supervisor, and was held in esteem. He died in 1802, upon the farm, and Elnathan also died upon his place when well advanced in years. The attractive features of inter-lake climate and good lands, together with the spirit of unrest which scattered the early nations and peopled the earth, combined to influence the young GOODINGS to sell their Bristol farms and remove to Michigan. A third settler upon No. 1 was Seth SIMMONS, who in 1798, or about that time, built himself a house upon his purchase. He was useful as a carpenter, as his neighbor GOODING was as a blacksmith, and wrought at the work of house-building until his death. Ten years had placed the settlers in better plight, and the saw-mills having been built and run, they began to discard the log home for the more pretentious frame structure, and some, who could not build anew, put up a frame addition to their log dwellings. Nathaniel FISHER came out from Dighton, and located at the corners east of Baptist Hill, and it was then known as Fisher's Corners. The spareness of population is indicated from the fact that in 1797 several offices were given, at town meetings, to one man. Mr. FISHER was one of the first assessors, and was also elected one of the school commissioners at the meeting in 1797. Upon the farm whose fields his labor contributed to clear and make available, his grandson, A.G. FISHER, is an owner and resident.
Deacon George CODDING and his five sons came out and took up their residence in town. Their location was in the neighborhood of what has been and still is know as Muttonville. George CODDING Jr., located on lot No. 3, where O. CASE now lives. Young, enterprising and with a broad filed open before him, he lived to become a prominent and wealthy citizen. He loved not alone for himself, but devised of his property for the support of churches, schools, the poor, and other good and praiseworthy purposes. He died childless. George Codding Sr., with his son George, came out in 1789, with Captain Peter PITTS, Calvin JACOBS, and John SMITH, by way of the Susquehanna route, and it was his party which surveyed Bristol and Richmond, then comprised as the Dighton purchase. The selection of homes was left to chance, and the lottery gave the CODDINGS No. 3. A log house was built on the land now occupied by John SMITH, and a blacksmith shop was put up after a time. But he was not ignored by the settlers, who after a few years had gathered in. Himself and sons, with their the families, became widely known, and the number is limited who have done more to clear the fields of Bristol, and give an impetus to the great and dominant interests in religion, education and pure morality. He was the first justice of the peace in town, as Gamaliel WILDER was for South Bristol, both having been appointed to that position at the same time. A daughter married Benjamin GAUSS of East Bloomfield, and this was the first wedding on the Dighton purchase. Mr. CODDING died in town, an aged and highly respected pioneer of its large family. He was active in public life, and thereby came into deserved prominence. At his death, or some time later, the family removed to Medina and Summit counties, Ohio. Daughters became the wives of John and Timothy WILDER and Isaac VAN FOSSEN's one son. Robert F. CODDING resides at Liberia, Ohio, and is an aged man. When a town has for its first settlers people religiously inclined, it may be regarded as a omen of future prosperity. Such was the case with the pioneers of Bristol. When few in number, they met frequently for religious worship. Stated preaching they did not have, but prayers and conference they could and did enjoy. James GOODING, who came to Bristol in 1789, and settled on lot 4, was one of those who desired to maintain in the west the observances of the east; and while we find him in 1797, elected a commissioner of highways, indicating activity and fitness for the conduct of town affairs, we also see him, on May 26, 1803, chosen deacon in the Congregational church, and prominent in church matters. His life was spared for many years, and he loved to see the interests which he had led and fostered grown strong and powerful.
In the line of enterprise, Bristol has not been wanting. Among the early interests suggested by a grazing country was that of a trade in cattle. Daniel TAYLOR, who settled on lot 4 as late as 1804, and lived upon land now known as the farm of L.T. BISSELL, dealt largely in cattle in the early day. He gathered his drove and took them to Philadelphia. No estimate of his sale has been gained, but from general report a large and profitable business was conducted. Faunce CODDING was a third of the five brothers, and located or was located on lot No. 5, where now has been built the stone house. It is notable how quickly the tradesman moving into a forest, with only the earth and timber around and beneath him, has invariable made use of his skill in his calling to better his condition. At Dighton he had followed nail-making, and continuing his practice in Bristol, he manufactured nails for his barn, which was the first structure of the kind erected in the town. The old dilapidated concern was torn down some time since, and a modern and commodious building has succeeded. Bears were numerous in the hills of Bristol, and sometimes troublesome. Upon on occasion, Faunce CODDING was in a field engaged in splitting rails when a full grown bear approached him, reared upon his hind legs, and extended his pas, as if daring CODDING to try a back hold. This he had no intention of doing, but instead raised his axe and sunk its keen edge in the skull of the bear. So heavy was the blow that the weapon was jerked from his hands and the bear hastily disappeared in the adjacent woods. A number of years had gone by when some one strolling into a ravine one day, found a rusted axe and the bones of a bear scattered about it. CODDING's blow had proved fatal. In 1810, Mr. CODDING died, in his fortieth year. His widow and a part of the family removed to Lockport, Illinois, while his sons Faunce and Stephen A. continued in town, where the latter still resides, at the age of seventy-two years. A settler prior to 1799, on lot No. 5, was named Marcius MARSH, who made his home upon the place now owned by James M. CASE. He was a prominent citizen in the early day, and died about 1836. His children removed to the Territory of Wisconsin, and became pioneers of that State. While none can understand the trials and deprivations of the early settler who has not been experience in them, yet it is seen that the children of Ontario pioneers, and often the pioneers themselves, have been quick to set forward and renew their parents' or their own experiences in a newer and remote State. The life having become accustomed, wants have diminished, and a society notable for enterprise has carried progress to the west, so that New England's freshest descendants are found farthest towards the crests of the Rocky Mountains. At different periods the seasons became quite sickly, and the need of a competent physician at such times became urgent. It was fortunate for the Bristol settlers that they had in their midst and able and skillful man. Dr. Thomas VINCENT in 1791 bought a portion of lot No. 6, which had been partially cleared, and contained a log house put up by Abijah SPENCER, an original settler of 1789. Dr. VINCENT was a native of Rhode Island, removed to Geneva in 1795, practiced there for two years, and came to Bristol. He was the first physician in town, and continued his practice until an old man, when he died, leaving the example of a useful life. He had a son J. Wheelock VINCENT, residing in town. Having reached the age of seventy-six years, he is known as one of the oldest native citizens of the organization. The pioneer patiently traversed with ox teams and on foot the intervening distance between Dighton and Bristol; he looked calmly forward a number of years to see the vast solitude reclaimed, and not a few died at an advanced age after seeing the tide fill up and run over to the westward. Hezekiah HILLS was one of these. He settled in 1797 upon part of lot 6, where O.F. SISSON lives, and was known to the public as holder of a town office. A family grew up around him and contributed their part to improve the old farm. Burt CODDING, a fourth brother, and John WHITMARSH were the pioneers upon lot 7. They arrived in 1791, and while the former moved upon the land where L. W. TOTMAN lives, the other moved to the north half, and made the farm his home for life. CODDING finally sold and removed to Ohio. Grandchildren of WHITMARSH own his former farm. Ephraim WILDER came out to Bristol soon after Gameliel, and became a resident of the southern town. In 1793 he came to Bristol, and located on lot 14, where he built a small log cabin near the dwelling of N. M. PACK. His sojourn on this lot was limited to one summer, after which he settled on the farm now owned by James MC KINNEY, on lot No. 10. He was a mill-builder, or connected with their construction, and put up a saw-mill here in about 1810. He died in 1826, in town. Theophilus SHORT removed from South Bristol to lot 11, in 1796 and built a log home upon the farm now owned and occupied by Peleg JONES. He was a man of enterprise, shrewd, and a worker. As early as 1801 he started a brick-yard, and, judging by after results, his kilns were not unprofitable investments. In 1804 he removed to Manchester, near the southern border, and purchased five hundred acres of land upon Canandaigua outlet, paying for the same, five dollars an acre; here he erected a mill. Here a village has sprung up bearing his name and growing in notice.
Eleazer HILL came to Bristol in 1794, and located on lot 13, where George REED resides. When war was declared against Great Britain in 1812, he organized an independent company for volunteer service. Elected to town offices, their exercise made him well know and favorably so. Another original settler upon the same lot, but in 1797, was John TAYLOR, who built a log house and made the first clearing on the farm of James REED. In the early distribution of town offices he was not ignored, and Bristol was his home till the day of his death. He has left a daughter, Mrs. SUTTON, who is a resident of the town.
In many instances families, living unostentatiously, have in their possession records, which trace their origin from the noblest families. The history of the MALLORY family dated back to the tenth century. In 1754 four brothers came to the United States, and their descendants have been scattered over the country, and some of them are yet residents of Ontario. One of these, Samuel MALLORY, settled on lot 14, where Augustus REED is living, in the year 1795. He was elected to the office of school commissioner in the early day, and occupied a prominent place as a citizen till his death in the town. Lot No. 13 was early settled. John CROW located there in 1794, just south of Packard's place. Upon this place he remained through life. Abijah WARREN came in about 1803, and from that time was a man of recognized prominence in Bristol, as shown in apart by various offices held. His son Abijah, was the first person to conduct tanning as a business in town. His building was erected near where the Congregational church now stands. A third settler on this lot was named John TRAFTON, whose brief record furnishes an example of the uniform success which seems to have attended persistent efforts at acquiring homes. When families came out from the east young men were hired to drive out stock or a team, and in most instances they became themselves owners of farms, and constituted the most valuable portion of the working population. John TRAFTON was one of these. He came out from Dighton in 1797, when about seventeen years of age, and worded for his brother in law, Daniel BURT, and for BURT CODDING, till he paid for his farm on lot 15. He there took up a permanent residence for life. A grandson, Henry TRAFTON, now owns the place. Examples like these given show that some were content to remain upon the same farm for a life time, but the great majority of settlers made frequent changes; sometimes from one lot to another, and at others removing altogether. There are few residents in Bristol today who reside upon the farms owned by their ancestors.
An old time resident of town was Oliver MITCHELL, who took up his abode on lot 16, where now Mark A. CASE resides, and there remained many years.
Rufus WHITMARSH was a settler from Dington in 1806 upon lot 17. His old farm is now the property of
N. W. RANDALL, who occupied a house whose main part was erected by Whitmarsh fifty-seven years ago. The office of justice of the peace was bestowed on Whitmarsh in 1810, and held by him till his death in 1831, at the age of sixty years.
The sons of Gamaliel WILDER, partaking of their father's spirit, looked through the public welfare to find their own prosperity. Jonas WILDER, some years after his arrival at Wilder's point, went out and located on lot 18, where E.H. ALLEN lives. He was made supervisor of the town, raised a large family, and died on the farm advanced in years. A similar record was that of his brother Joseph, who came out to Ontario in 1789, and afterwards took up the farm on lot 19, and now known as the William PACKARD place.
James CASE came to Bristol about 1800, from Massachusetts, and located where D.M. PHILLIPS lives, on lot 34. He raised a large family, most of whom have passed away. Two daughters, Mrs. Abner REED and Mrs. Asa JONES, are residents of the town. Two years subsequent to the settlement by James CASE, John J. CASE came to the same lot, and there engaged in clearing and farming. His townsmen elected him supervisor, and he received the appointment of justice of the peace. His old farm is now the property of Erastus CASE, his son. Billings T. CASE, another son, is a resident of the town.
Captain Alden SEARS came from Massachusetts at an early day, and purchased that part of lot 36 now the farm of his grandson, D.C. SEARS. He remained upon the place through life. Aaron WHEELER, purchasing and building in 1798 on the Dusenberry place, was an old neighbor to Mr. SEARS and was content to end his days upon the farm which he had cleared. A son resides in Michigan. A third settler on the lot in question was Samuel TORRENCE, who came from Connecticut about 1800, and bought the farm now owned by Charles WALDRON. A son, Sheldon TORRENCE, afterwards moved to Livingston county.
James AUTIN, also of Connecticut, came to South Bristol in 1790, and afterwards settled and worked the farm on lot 19 formerly owned by Artemus BRIGGS, and afterwards by Jesse ALLEN. Mr. AUSTIN died far advanced in years. The farm is now occupied by Byron TIFFANY.
Aaron HICKS was a pioneer of 1795, and took up his residence on the farm of lot 37, where now resides his great-granddaughter, Mrs. Seth PAUL. Mr. HICKS followed the general and imperative custom of the day in the construction of a log dwelling, which was his home for years. He died on the farm.
As early as 1792, John SIMMONS, of Dighton, had begun improvements upon lot 38. Years went by, and as he grew old, a large family reached maturity around him, one only of whom was a daughter. He died full of years, and is represented in the town by a grandchild, Mrs. B. CASE.
John KENT located about 1797 on lot 37, and his son Phineas, is a prominent and enterprising townsman at present. Five years after the arrival of Mr. SIMMONS on lot 38, Seth JONES purchased and improved the land now the heritage of his grandson, Leonard JONES. Mr. JONES engaged in tavern-keeping at Baptist Hill in 1816, but the business is not followed by his son, Elijah, who still resides in the town, at the age of fourscore. In the earliest settlement of this region, individuals and small parties came out to select their farms, put in a small patch of ground, and made some preparation for housing the family, which was brought on in the spring. At a later period, it was found that the journey could be better made in winter, with sleds. William FRANCIS chose the winter of 1800 to come west, and brought with him on the ox-sled his family and household goods. The place where Stephen FRANCIS lives is the same as that which first knew careful tillage by his ancestor. A large family grew up on the farm and scattered. A son, Gilbert, is a resident of the town, and is well advanced in years.
John KENT came out from New Jersey in 1795, on horseback. He was by trade a shoemaker, and cleared his land by hammering sole-leather and driving pegs for George CODDING, paying for two days' chopping on his clearing upon his farm on lot 38 by each day's labor at the bench. He married Abigail SEARS about the year 1797, and moved on the farm now owned by Mercy BARRINGER. Phineas KENT, born in 1805, is the only son living. He has served as sheriff, under sheriff and taken an active part in county affairs. Solomon GOODALE came about 1802 to Bristol. He was a veteran preacher in the Baptist churches and ministered for over forty years in one place, where he remained till his death, which did not take place till but five years were lacking of a life-time numbering a century. At such an age, it may well be thought that, in view of religious and material growth noted along the pathway he had trod, he might have said, "Let thy servant depart in peace, for mine eyes have seen in verity what my soul desired."
In the early day, Mr. GOODALE was an experienced surveyor. His first settlement was in Phelps, in 1795, to which he had come from Brookfield, Massachusetts, where he was born in 1767. He was the first resident minister in Phelps, and preached in school and private houses. During his ministry his memoranda show that he married four hundred and fifty couples, and baptized over one thousand persons. He died November 7, 1862, in his ninety-sixth year. Luther PHILLIPS of Massachusetts, located in 1803, where Phineas KENT now resides. He was a shoemaker, and plied his trade in a small shop, which was the pioneer of its class in the hamlet now designated Baptist Hill. He died here, and his descendants went west. Several of the family, were mutes. The earliest settler upon lot 39 was Job GOODING, in 1794. Four years later, two men became settlers upon the same tract, Joshua REED and Nathaniel CUDWORTH. The former plied his trade as a shoemaker, and died on his place; the latter located west of Baptist Hill, where his son Ezekiel lives, well advanced in years. Mr. CUDWORTH died in Farmington. One of the town's earliest settlers was Samuel ANDREWS, who, in 1791, settled upon the farm on lot 40, where his grandson, George ANDREWS, now owns. The pioneer passed his life on the farm. In 1795, Benjamin ANDREWS settled on the same lot. Descendants are residents of the town.
Zephaniah GOODING came to Bristol in 1798 and located on lot 41. Mr. GOODING, brother to Elnathan and William, lived on the place several years, and died in town. A daughter, Mrs. P. KENT, is a resident of Baptist Hill. About the year 1800, the northwest corner farm of the lot was settled by John PHILLIPS, for many years a deacon in the Baptist church, and a life-resident in town. His son. B. PHILLIPS, resides near the homestead. Thomas GOODING was another of an estimable family, which gave character to the early settlement. He came out from Massachusetts in 1802, and located where Mr. BRIGGS resides. Of a large family raised by him, but one, a daughter, survives, and resides in Michigan.
Lot 42 was first settled by David SIMMONS in 1798. His land was the farm now owned by Albert TREAT. Brothers named Ephraim, Simeon, Benjamin, Richmond and Constance, became residents of the town contemporary with him, and approved themselves reputable, industrious, and prosperous townsmen. David died here during the epidemic, which finds frequent historic mention as having prevailed throughout this country in 1813. Eliakim WALKER settled on the farm now owned and occupied by H.H. MARSH. He was a genuine backwoodsman, and loved the forest and its associations. A log cabin, a small clearing for vegetables, contented him, and his chief enjoyment was hunting. The present, from the absence of a stimulus, is an age of decadence in rifle practice, but in that day a wonderful accuracy was acquired by constant use. Among the best shots, and an acknowledged Nimrod of the section, WALKER brought down many a fine deer and when his favorite game grew scarce and shy removed to the pine forests of Michigan, where he died.
Daniel SMITH moved into the town about 1800, and purchased a farm of ample proportions from the west end of lot 43, where his son, P.S. SMITH, resides. The pioneer died upon his place. A daughter married Seth TUBBS, and lives near the old homestead. A son Stephen, lives in the town.
Tisdel WALKER came about 1802, and bought land on lot 42, where Aaron S. MARBLE resides. He died young, leaving a small family, who have become residents of the west.
The pioneer settler upon lot 44 was John MASON, of Massachusetts. He located in 1801, on the farm now owned by his son, Francis, whose son, Oscar, is at present, county judge. Mr. MASON lived long in the town and finally, as was the case of many other worthy citizen, was summoned away "to join the innumerable caravan" moving ever and continuous to the pale realms of shadow and of rest. Sylvanus JONES and John CRANDALL came in about 1802. The former moved upon the then wild land now included in the property of Mrs. SIMMONS. He as a major in the military service, and exercised some influence in town affairs. At his death the place was sold, and his descendants moved west.
Mr. CRANDALL's land joined JONES' on the same lot. He was a man of enterprise, as I shown by the facts that he kept a tavern for several years, and ran a four-horse state at an early day. He died in town. Another of the pioneer settlers on his lot was Azer JACKSON, who, in about 1803, made a purchase and settlement of the farm where J.F. POOL lives. Several of the family yet reside here. A brother, Elias, lived and died on the place now owned by H.P. SIMMONS.
Jere. BOWEN, of Massachusetts, became a resident in 1800 on the Daniel JACKSON place on lot 45. He has but a small farm.
Constant SIMMONS settled on lot 46, about 1803. His son, Henry P. SIMMONS is an owner not only of the original homestead but of considerable additional lands.
Benjamin SIMMONS, brother to Constant, lived near him, on lot 47. He was a justice of the peace, and a leading citizen of that day.
Asa JONES came in about the same time as his brother Sylvanus, from Massachusetts, and settled on lot 47. The farm partially cleared by him is now owned by F. FITCH. At his death he was buried on the farm.
Contant SIMMONS, cousin to him just mentioned, came to Bristol in about 1797, and located on lot 49, where at present day, John JOHNSON resides. He erected a log house, which in its day took precedence as the finest in town. A tavern was opened, and continued for several years. Father and children passed their lives in the town.
Philip SIMMONS located in 1805 on lot 50. He is remembered as a trader as well as a farmer. He moved to Michigan, where he died and his family resides. His old farm in now owned by N.W. THOMAS.
On lot 51, Captain Amos BARBER was a settler in and subsequent to 1796.
George REED came about 1805, from the Bay State and located on lot 52, where his son Seymour resides. He was an industrious farmer, and the present fields are the results of his early labors.
Contemporary with Mr. REED, Ephraim JONES came upon a portion of lot 53, where his son, A.G. JONES, now resides. He was an early militia colonel and an active man. His death took place some years since.
Ephraim WILDER moved from his farm on lot
14, and located at the Centre about 1793. Here he put up a log house; later he built a one-story frame,
which has since been enlarged, and is at present occupied by James McKINNEY.
WILDER had both a distillery and a tavern for several years.
Abijah SPENCER was an early settler where Edward GOODING lives.
Major JONES was an early resident of this locality, where John H.
CRANDALL now lives.
The convenience of the settlers required a
store nearer home, and for their accommodation Horace and Allen HOOKER opened
the pioneer store of the place, in the ball-room of Timothy WILDER’s hotel.
Mr. BRADBURY was a subsequent store-keeper at that place.
The HOOKERS received sufficient encouragement to warrant their erection
of the large house now standing on the corner and used as a store.
George GOODING succeeded the HOOKERS, and transformed the store to a
A man named Larnard JOHNSON was the early
blacksmith, and had his shop near the GARDNERS’ house.
A tannery was run south of the Centre, by
Isaac MASON. He had continued an
experience begun at Muttonville, farther down the creek.
Abijah WARREN ran a tannery west of the Congregational church at an early
day. It was discontinued before the
memory of the present oldest inhabitant. Warren
went from the “Centre” to Muttonville, and there opened a tannery, and in
connection carried on shoemaking.
Zenus BRIGGS was an early settler near the
cemetery, and was a life resident of the place.
His children, who had grown up around him, moved west, where some at
present reside. His oldest son was
the well-known tavern-keeper west of Canandaigua at an early day.
Mr. POOL and Antony LOW were former residents of the neighborhood.
A man named WARRELLS was an early cabinet-maker north of the
“Centre.” His services were
valuable, as the machinery of the present day was unknown, and the work was done
From time immemorial the various needs and
inclinations of men have led to diversified pursuits.
The growth of a partial necessity and supported by general usage,
distilleries were run by prominent and worthy citizens, and were abandoned when
fostering influences gave way. To
ward off disease and to enable men to do hard work, liquor was invoked to give
its aid. The abuse of whisky, and
not its use, was the cause of the ruin which it wrought.
Abstinence is the present safe ground taken by temperance advocates.
In the early day a distillery was operated by E. WOLCOTT, on Mud creek.
It stood on lot 1, north of the road near the bridge.
Cyrus WHEELER and a man named WILLIAMS were subsequent distillers. John SEARS and Benjamin WALDRON were early tavern-keepers in
“May WEED,” one of each side of the road.
A thriving business was done for some years.
Ward PARKS had a store in “May Weed” in the early day, and a store
was continued there for 25 years. David
NILES was the owner and operator of a forge, and his shop was well patronized.
Where now Daniel SISSON lives was the wagon-shop of Enoch MINER.
He did a fair business for years.
Muttonville is a hamlet of Bristol, and
derived its name from the establishment of a tallow-chandlery there, about 1845.
Thirty thousand sheep have been slaughtered in a single year.
Abijah WARREN and Isaac MASON had tanneries for dressing the pelts.
Asahel GOODING was the originator of this enterprise, which was continued
for several years. The carcass was boiled and pressed to extract the tallow,
which, with the pelts, was sold, and created a temporary lively business.
There is nothing of business character done at the place now.
The first store in Baptist Hill was kept by a man named HUNT, in about the year 1810. His stock was kept in a small frame, which stood just west of the present store of Wheeler. Joel PARK afterwards kept a store in the same building. Dr. Jacob GILLETT sold goods in the same building afterwards, and at the same time practiced medicine. The first brick building in town was erected by Dr. GILLETT. It has been destroyed by fire. The pioneer blacksmith at Baptist Hill was Aaron VAN ORMAN. The shop stood north of the old Baptist church. A tavern kept by Luther PHILLIPS was the pioneer of the hamlet, and among the first in the town. Of eight saw-mills, two remain. A few initials close this portion of our history. The first frame building was built and occupied as a store and tavern by Stephen SISSON. Its erection dates from 1793. The first death occurring after settlement had commenced was that of Miss McCRUM. A school was started in Bristol as early as 1790, almost simultaneous with settlement; Thomas HUN was the teacher. The first saw-mill was that of WILDER, built in 1806, south of Bristol Centre, near the shop of William DOTY. Other events of this character have been noted.
THE FIRST TOWN MEETING
Gamaliel WILDER and George CODDING had been
appointed justices of the peace, and were superintendents of the first town
meeting, held on April 4, 1797. The
following officers were elected: William
GOODING, supervisor; John CODDING, town clerk; Faunce CODDING, Nathan ALLEN, and
Nathaniel FISHER, assessors; James GOODING, Jabez HICKS, and Moses PORTER,
commissioners of highways; Amos BARBER, Nathan ALLEN, and Alden SEARS, Jr.,
constables; George CODDING, Jr., and Stephen SISSON, overseers of the poor;
Peter GANYARD, Eleazer HILLS, Theophilus ALLEN, Elnathan GOODING, John SIMMONS,
and Amos BARBER, overseers of highways; Aaron RICE, Ephraim WILDER, and
Nathaniel FISHER, school commissioners; and Amos BARBER and Nathan HATCH,
collectors. At this meeting it was
voted to raise $50 to defray town expenses.
BRISTOL DIVISION, SONS OF TEMPERANCE, was instituted April 27, 1850, with the following officers: Isaiah FRANCIS, W. P.; A. C. HATHAWAY, W. A.; E. L. BOOTH, R. S.; Peleg F. HICKS, A. R. S.; R. SIMMONS Sr., F. S.; B. S. CASE, T.; W. S. SIMMONS, C.; J. F. POOL, A. C., O. W. BABCOCK, I. S.; H. FRANCIS, O. S. At its greatest prosperity it numbered 75 members and was sustained five years.
CROOKS POST, No. 90, GRAND ARMY OF THE REPUBLIC, was instituted January 1869. Charter members were James W. ALLEN, J.V.C.; Thomas MURRAY, S.V.C; E. W. BURGE, Q.S.; Charles PERKINS, Q.; E. W. BENSON, O.G.; Sylvester PARKS, S. Others were Henry HILLS, William RAINES, T. ISAAC, Horace SISSON, Co G. INGRAHAM, Rufus W. TRAVIS, H. A. HOTCHKISS and James KIMBER. The maximum membership was 34. Moneys were raised by exhibitions for charitable purposes. Disbanded September 30, 1871.
A Lodge of Patrons of Husbandry was instituted April 16, 1874, with 16 members. It now numbers 60. Elijah JONES was first Master, and Billings CASE as Overseer. N. W. RANDALL is present Master; B. S. CASE, Overseer.
The history of Bristol is that of a sober and industrious people. For 18 years there have been no licensed saloon or tavern in the town, and the enrollment of the war record will approve the population now wanting in patriotism.
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