Town of East Bloomfield History 

History of Ontario Co, NY       Pub 1878  pg 206 - 211

 

Kindly transcribed by Donna Walker Judge

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TOWN OF EAST BLOOMFIELD

 

Whether traditional or official, there is interest and pleasure derived from a study of the home history. A name revives a recollection; an incident recalls a train of reminiscences. From the most ancient times tradition has been intrusted with the greater portion of individual and national history. The same causes have conspired to prevent a more reliable and permanent record in all times: the captious criticism, the lack of education, the in appreciation of future value of common affairs of the present, and, most of all, the sense of the responsibility which few care to assume. By the great open fire-place, of a cold, stormy night, the aged loved to recount to their descendants the hardship and adventure of a backwoodsman’s life; but they have perished, and their knowledge with them. The compiler of fragmentary history is impressed with the conviction of imperfection connected with memories handed down from parent to child, but regards it all the more essential that a gleanage shall be had of what is yet extent for storage in imperishable form. What matters to the native of East Bloomfield the settling of Jamestown, or the landing of the Pilgrims, in comparison with the pioneers of his township, and a knowledge of localities where he may muse upon the actors in events ever growing more remote, dim, and shadowy? Centuries before the advent of John ADAMS and his colony, the SENECAS, the door-keepers of the Long House, lived in savage independence upon the valley of Mud creek and the lesser streams traversing this town. Numerous and powerful, these people had permanent villages at various parts of the Genesee valley, one of which was known as “Gannagarro,” and was situated on lot 36, just east of Mud creek, south of the north road in this town. Here large tracts of land were cleared of their dense forest growth, and here the apple flourished, and the Indian maize was grown upon lands now annually furrowed by the white man’s plow. The French of Canada were hostile to the IROQUOIS, and an expedition, led by DE NOUVILLE, came to this region in July of 1867, and aimed to subdue its inhabitants. Barely escaping an ignoble defeat at the hands of a few hundred SENECA warriors, the thousands of invaders vented their fury upon village and field; the former was laid in ashes by its builders, and the growing corn in the latter was cut down with the sword. The country was well stocked with domestic animals, and the landscape was described as level, charming, and beautiful. Among the forest-trees were the walnut, oak, and wild chestnut, and narrow trails, in use for time immemorial, led along dense jungles bordering upon swamps, and over the up-lands, from village to village and from nation to nation. A different landscape is presented to the visitor of this locality to-day. Fringes of the old forest alternate with cultivated fields, fine orchards, and good dwellings, and there is seen the beauty of civilization in marked contrast with the grandeur and repose of that known to LA HOUTON, the historian of that expedition. As relics of that French inroad, many gun-barrels, locks, and sword-blades were found by the early white settlers near the Indian village, and with them were gathered tomahawks, pestles for pounding corn, stones used in peeling bark and skinning game, and the plow not unfrequently exhumed the skeletons of the departed. An ancient burial-ground was situated in the southeast part of the town, near THOMAS’ mill, from which many Indian skeletons have been taken. They were found as if buried in a sitting posture, surrounded by the weapons of war and of the chase, and the desecration of these localities was one of the hardest trials of the superstitious and haughty SENECAS.

While we indulge regret for Indian wrongs, we see him yield to manifest destiny, and at his timely exit take up the white settlement of East Bloomfield. The town of Bloomfield was formed January 27, 1789. Victory and Mendon were taken from it in 1812, and in 1833 it was again divided into the towns of East and West Bloomfield. The town of East Bloomfield, comprising township No 10, 4th range, was purchased in 1789 by a party from Sheffield, Massachusetts. These proprietors were Captain William BACON, General John FELLOWS, General John ASHLEY, Elisha LEE, Dr. Joshua PORTER and Deacon John ADAMS, the last named from Alford, a village near Sheffield. Towards the close of the spring months, Deacon ADAMS and family consisting of himself and wife, his sons, John, William, Abner, Joseph, and Jonathan  his sons-in-law, Lorin HULL, Mr. WILCOX, and Ephraim REW, with their wives, three unmarried daughters, and Elijah ROSE, a brother-in-law, wife and son, set out from Massachusetts, with cattle and horses, for a home in Ontario. Some came by water, others on horseback, following in part an Indian trail, and reached their location on lot 13, district No. 4, about the 1st of June. At the same time came Nathaniel and Eber NORTON, Benjamin GAUSS, Moses GUNN, John BARNES, Asa HICKOX, Lot REW, Roger SPRAGUE, and John KEYES. They immediately set to work and built two small log cabins and one large one, and in these all found shelter for some time. These first habitations stood near the present residence of J. BLACK. Those who came by water had little difficulty, aside from the portages at Little Falls, Seneca Falls, and what is now Waterloo. With this party was their surveyor, Augustus PORTER, who has since been better known as Judge PORTER, Joel STEELE, and Thaddeus KEYES, and in these crowded cabins they found food and lodging. The inside of the larger house reminded one of the cabin of a packet, berths being placed upon wooden pins driven into the wall, one above the other. Their bread was baked in ashes upon the hearth of the large fire-place, and they alone who have tasted can testify to the excellence of bread baked in this manner. Their tables were supplied with the choicest game and fish, and “quail on toast” was not an unknown luxury.

The settlement of this town, thus begun, was not accomplished without the endurance of many hardships. At one time, during the prevalence of a season of scarcity, General FELLOWS and Eber NORTON took a boat owned by Mr. ADAMS, from the Manchester landing, and set out to meet and hasten forward a supply of provisions which was being brought west by some men in the employ of the former.

From a journal kept by Eber NORTON in 1790, and now in possession of his son-in-law, Deacon CONE, we obtain an insight into the difficulties attending navigation on the creeks. The two men set out on the morning of May 11, from the landing, and rowed down to the mouth of Flint creek, and put up with Mr. ROBINSON. On the following morning, refreshed by a drink of chocolate, a progress of twelve miles was made, and the cabin of Mr. STANCHELL reached b eleven A.M. Here a stay of two nights was made, and the settler gave his lodgers the best bed, while contenting himself with less comfortable accommodations. Some fish were caught, and the men did their own cooking. On the morning of the 14th, Mr. FELLOWS, who had been ill, was again in health, and the boat was rowed nine miles by ten o’clock. Obstructions were then met, and for five hours the men labored, cutting logs and clearing the way through a log-drift. Two miles farther down a formidable drift was found, and here the boat loaded with provisions was met. It was manned by a crew of six men, Mr. RANSFORD and his son, Archibald, James ROGERS, two men named STILLWELL, one SHARP, and one by the name of LYON. The crew was divided, and LYON, RANSFORD and his boy, under NORTON, worked the ADAMS boat, which had taken on a part of the load, and the rest of the men continued in the boat of Mr. FELLOWS. The progress was slow and laborious, rowing up stream to the mouth of Muddy creek, where the current was so strong that the men were obliged to resort to “shoving,” a wearisome business, and only made endurable by necessity. The progress now became slow, and the work knew no relaxation. As the men lay in camp at night, in the woods, Mr. NORTON’s chief consolation was, that his friends in Massachusetts were not aware of his situation! Finally the landing was reached by noon of the 17th, and with great satisfaction the boats were unloaded and dinner taken. Then all save NORTON left the place. He, sending for his cousin, Nathaniel NORTON, to come with a team for a load, set a tent, and had just prepared for a night’s rest when the team arrived, and the men passed the night in company, and by sunset of the following day the settlement was reached. A journey to Geneva was made on Sunday, June 25, for flour, and fifty pounds were purchased for two dollars and twenty-five cents. We quote several entries in the journal, as illustrative of every-day life: “Sat, Sept. 11th, went to Cap. BACON’s, distant four miles, and obtained forty pounds of flour, which I brought home upon my back; hewed some sleepers upon which to lay a threshing-floor, and in the afternoon went to the raising of Gen. FELLOW’s barn, which was not finished, owing to the approach of night.” The custom of the times is revealed in the expression, “at night we had a set,” and there was much drinking and hilarious enjoyment. The entry of September 23 says: “Sold six bushels of wheat for seed to Captain NORTON, at 10d. per bushel.” From frequent mention, it is concluded that “flies, gnats, fleas, and musketoes” were annoying to people and stock. It was a characteristic of this as of any new country, that fever and ague should be prevalent. Rev. Nathaniel STEELE, Nathaniel NORTON, and three men, brothers, from Connecticut, spent a night in Genesee, and soon after being taken with the “Genesee fever,” as it was called, all but NORTON died. For a time the Indians, having assumed a very menacing attitude towards the settlers, caused considerable apprehension; but the defeat of the western tribes and the decline of British influence produced a marked and lasting change. Hardships, although severe, were comparatively of short duration. 

Such was the policy of the general government, the liberality of the State, the enterprise of the pioneers, and the fertility of the soil, that the settlers soon enjoyed as much and more of comfort than they had known in Massachusetts prior to emigration. 

As a temporary expedient the three log houses served to  accommodate all the families; but it was not long before each purchased for himself a home, thereon erected a house, and others coming in, the town contained inhabitants in every quarter. Deacon ADAMS, the pioneer of the town, was among the first to die, and he is thus noticed in a sermon preached in 1851, by Rev. Henry KENDALL: “He had seen his children and children’s children established around him, and cheerful settlers gathering on every side; but his work was done! He came in from the field one day, complained of sickness, and went no more out till borne, ten days later, in silence to his grave. No crowd of mere respectful mourners gathered at the funeral, no long train of easy carriages composed the procession, or plumed hearse waited to bear way the coffined dead to an enclosure made sacred by the presence of monuments erected to the memory of many previously deceased; but a numerous posterity and sorrowing neighbors were there, and bore to the hitherto scarcely broken turf of a field consecrated to the dead the mortal part of him who is justly entitled the pioneer inhabitant of East Bloomfield.” The pioneer farm fell to Ephraim REW, a son-in-law, and from him came into possession of Charles GRANT, about the year 1808. C.L. CRANDALL and J. BLACK are now proprietors. 

The first school-house in town was built in this place in 1792, and Laura ADAMS was its first occupant as teacher. Roger SPRAGUE, afterwards member of the Legislature, was also an early teacher here. For three miles in every direction the children came to this school, through snow, rain, and mud, upon forest paths and across lots, and learned reading, writing, and arithmetic, the sole studies in this backwoods academy. On the west side of Mud creek, where C. SIDWAY lives, Nathaniel NORTON purchased a farm, and built a house there in the summer of 1790, and into this Asa HICOX, of Victor, moved with his family, and remained during the following winter. Mr. MORTON came with the colony in 1789, from Goshen, Connecticut, became a sheriff of Ontario County, and subsequently a member of the Legislature. A distillery run by Mr. NORTON was on the east side of this farm, on the south side of the road; it was destroyed by fire in 1815. A small ashery and cooper-shop were run in connection with the distillery, and an extensive business was done for that period. A frame house is yet standing on the farm, erected in 1803—4. At his death, in 1810, Heman NORTON, a son, took the place. Further to the north, where J.S. JONES owns, was the farm of Eber NORTON, of whom we have spoken. He was a valuable member of that early community, not only as a mechanic, engaging in the construction of plows, ox-yokes, axe-helves, and other wooden farming utensils, but also as an employer of others, thereby enabling them to purchase provisions or make payments. Prior to moving west with his family he raised wheat, oats, corn, and other products, and supplied many new-comers with provisions. His death occurred in 1824, aged sixty-nine years, and the only surviving children are Mrs. A. CONE, of this town, aged sixty-eight, and Mrs. ROWLEY, at Battle Creek, Michigan, aged seventy-four. On the TRASK place, northwest of NORTON, N. LOUGHBOROUGH purchased a farm of Sereno NORTON about 1810, and having a knowledge of cabinet-making, gained in New Jersey, found here constant employment. On the road west of the school-house was Heman BEEBE, where W.M. BUTLER now owns. The former came in very early, and in 1803 sold out to his neighbor, Daniel RICE, who for some time had lived on the west side of Fish creek, upon land now occupied by T.D. RICE, his grandson. The settlement of this district would not have been complete without its “John SMITH,” hence we find that long since this personage resided just east of Mud creek at a place now owned by W. HERSHEY. There stood a saw-mill at an early day on Fish creek, above the road near the place of Heman BEEBE, and a tannery was carried on by Anson MANSON in 1797, opposite NORTON’s distillery. 

District no 9 lies west of the one just described, and its settlement was commenced in 1789 by Oliver CHAPIN, from Salisbury, Connecticut, on lot 17. He bought of Captain BACON, for forty-five pounds, three hundred and twenty acres, now one of the finest farms in all western New York, and the property of his nephew, O.C. CHAPIN. Returning to Connecticut in the fall of 1789, Mr. CHAPIN came back to his farm in the spring following, accompanied by his brother, Dr. Daniel CHAPIN, and Aaron TAYLOR, and their families. Dr. CHAPIN brought with him some apple-seed, which he sowed soon after his arrival. Trees sprung from that seed yet stand, and are in good bearing condition, some of them having a diameter of three feet. From this first sowing Oliver CHAPIN had, at his death in 1822, fifty acres of good, thrifty orchard. He built a grist-mill on Fish creek, on the south end of his place, at a very early day, and near it was a distillery. One HAWLEY had a carding-machine, near where A.F. GOULD lives, very early. There was a hat-shop conducted by Mr. BEACH, near the pond, in the early history of the town, and Victor, Bristol, and surrounding towns were furnished with the latest styles four times a year. Dr. Daniel CHAPIN was the pioneer physician of this town, and lived near the village most of the time he remained here. It is said that he would leave his bed at any time at night to attend the sick, and, by the light of his torch, travel through the woods for miles. He was a member of the Legislature at an early day, removed to Buffalo in 1805, and continued the practice of medicine there till his death in 1835. 

In the spring of 1790, Aaron TAYLOR took up his residence where L.T. NORTON’s heirs reside, and where now stands their beautiful residence was a rude log cabin in a wilderness; where now is heard the merry laugh and glad shout of the children gathered at the school-house, the dense forest rang with the dismal howl of the wolf, and bears stole out to carry away the swine of the settler. Mr. YATLOR soon had a good peach-orchard, and raised the finest fruit in that neighborhood.

Heman CHAPIN settled the whole of no 19, where J. W. HOBSON resides, in 1796, there reared his family, and there died in 1843, aged sixty-eight years. Opposite him was Roswell HUMPHREY, where T. DRISCOLL lives, and east was Ashman BEEBE, on the GOULD place. Cyprian COLLINS came on in 1800, and bought the place now owned by J. Augustus BOUGHTON, and his brother Tyrannus COLLINS, a hatter, in the first house west. Nathaniel BALDWIN was a very early settler, on the place now owned by E.A. NORTH. He is recollected as a singing-teacher, being only preceded in that department of culture by one INGERSALL. Philo NORTON built the house and owned the farm now occupied by C. J. COLLISTER. He was the son of Aaron NORTON, the pioneer on the north end of lot 18, where his great grandson, Elisha, now resides. Zebediah FOX was an early settler where E. STODDARD, his son-in-law, now resides. He had about eighty acres of a farm, on which he died in November, 1858. South of Stoddard, by the bridge, was the early home of M. NORTON, now that of his son, Moses NORTON who has reached the age of seventy-three years. The place now owned by J.W. STEELE was first the property of Chauncey BEACH, and here he built a grist-mill at an early day. The building was changed to a woolen-mill after the death of Mr. BEACH, and run as such by Stephen SALMON, a resident of the town. Chauncey BEACH, Jr., lived upon the place some time, and another son, Elisha, was the first postmaster, and built the large frame residence, in the village, occupied by John W. TAYLOR. Deacon John DOUD lived in the place now owned by Daniel RICE as early as 1808, where he raised a large family. Jonathan HUMPHREY came into the town as early as 1808, and took up his abode on the farm now owned by George RICE; and his son, Judge HUMPHREY, is a resident of Rochester. North of the schoolhouse was Asa JOHNSON, who had a blacksmith-shop, and found abundant occupation in that line. Some years later Jonathan BUELL lived on the same road, and farther north were Elijah TAYLOR and Hiram BROOKS, neighbors in the pioneer times. At the southeast corner of lot 17 was a saw-mill, built very early, but by whom unknown. A school was held in a log house where Elijah NORTON now lives.

On district no 11 the GAYLORD brothers, Moses and Flavial, lived previous to 1800. R.H. MOREY now owns one of the farms and Horace DIBBLE the other. These men were distillers from Connecticut, and in 1800 had a distillery where the saw-mill now stands. They did a large business, and were prominent men of that period until their death. East of them Silas HARRIS, from Sheffield, Massachusetts, settled in 1801. Ebenezer FRENCH, from Alford, Massachusetts, took up his residence on the farm now owned by Oliver WHITE long ago, and thereon passed his days. Joseph DIBBLE, from Massachusetts, came on in 1804, and built a log house on the south side of the road, about eighty rods west of GAYLORDS’, here he had a cooper-shop, and carried on the business for some years. He bought the place of Josiah BENJAMIN. His sons, Spencer and Horace, yet reside near the homestead, aged respectively eight-four and eighty-one years. The former was in the engagement at Black Rock in the war of 1812. On the diagonal road, Alexander EMMONS, from Pennsylvania, was a resident in 1791, and had twelve hundred acres of land, and was by far the largest land-owner in town. His grandson Oliver now owns the homestead. Ransom SAGE settled on the place now owned by W. GREEN, and died there at an advanced age. J.E. HUBBARD lived on the south side of the road, where Mr. FISHER’s house now stands. He came thither about 1807, from Sheffield. John BENJAMIN, from Massachusetts, had a family on the lot where E. EMMONDS now lives, and was killed in action near Niagara during the war on that frontier. Archibald RANSFORD, who is mentioned in Mr. NORTON’s journal as coming on their boat in 1790, is known to have lived in 1806 on the CLEVELAND place, where Mr. EMMONS had previously built a house. To close the history of this district without mentioning Luther MILLARD would be unpardonable in the eyes of the oldest inhabitant. Every child almost in this town has heard of him,--of his “sayings, tricks, and pranks,” In the darkest days of 1814, when the war-clouds hung heavy and low over this country, when all able-bodies men were called to arms in defense of their homes and marched to the front, when rumors flew with lightning  speed that the enemy were about to invade this part of the land, and all day long was heard the distant boom of cannon, and the old men, some of whom had served their country in its struggle for independence, assembled and formed a company for home defense,--in the midst of all this came the jolly face and keen black eyes of Luther MILLARD,--a welcome visitor in every household, and having words of cheer for all. Fertile in resource for innocent and enjoyable mischief, he was an excellent mechanic, and, whether for work or amusement, his company was always desirable. South of him lived Silas EGGLESTON. One cold winter night MILLARD met three well-filled sleighs, and an occupant of one asked him where the party could obtain lodgings for the night. MILLARD, pointing to EGGLESTON’s house, told them to go right in and put up their teams, as he was proprietor, and as soon as he could return from the village to which he was going, he would see them. He added that a man who worked for him might offer some objections, but they should pay no attention to him but go right in and make themselves at home till his return. Surprised at such kindness from a stranger, they drove into the barn-yard, took their families into Mr. EGGLESTON’s kitchen, and then put up their teams. “The man who worked for him” did not understand this proceeding until explanation was made, when EGGLESTON enjoyed a hearty laugh at the trick, and kept the company till morning. MILLARD lived near the railroad crossing, on the SAXBY place. The interests of education were not neglected in this district, and a log school-house was erected in 1807, just east of TIFFANY’s. Mr. HOLMES carried on the first school, which numbered twelve scholars. He was a poor man as regarded his purse, but rich in a finely-cultivated intellect. His services were secured for ten dollars per month, and he “boarded around.” It is known that General EATON, who commanded the expedition against the TRIPOLITANS to break up their piracy, had been a pupil of Mr. HOLMES. Previous to the organization of this school, the children of this locality had gone to a school taught by Huldah BOUGHTON, where Elijah NORTON now lives. 

District No 5 is mostly in Victor. Ebenezer SPRING settled on a tract in this town at an early day, and brought his wife, a daughter of John ADAMS, into a wilderness, which they lived to see cleared, and which is now the home of their son, B.D. SPRING. 

District No 7 was the site of the second settlement in the town. Silas SPRAGUE, with his wife and sons, Roger, Asahel, and Thomas, and three daughters, came from Massachusetts, and built upon lots 49 and 52. Roger was one of the colony in 1789; he was an early school teacher in the town; succeeded Nathaniel NORTON as sheriff of this county, and became a member of the Legislature. He finally moved in Michigan, where he died in 1848. Asahel’s house and farm lay south of the road, where D. THAYER now resides. He was the NIMROD of this section, and the owner of a gun of large calibre. The town, county, and State bounties amounted to twenty dollars for every wolf-scalp, and SPRAGUE killed ten wolves while living here, besides a number of bears. His death occurred in 1810, and his widow married a KELLOGG, who took up his residence in the town. Thomas was located where H. BORST now resides, and died about the same time as Asahel. One of the daughters, Minta, married Dr. Ralph WILCOX. Lot REW was a near neighbor, but in West Bloomfield as at present laid out. The death of his wife was the first on No 10, 4th range, four years after settlement began in the town. This small settlement was joined, in February, 1790, by Elijah HAMLIN, from Alford, Massachusetts, and his daughters, Mary and Olive, were among the first births in the town—the former born in 1791, the latter in 1792. His son Philo was born there in 1794, and yet lives, a hearty, honest pioneer,--the oldest person born in East Bloomfield who resides here at present. Few men that have worked as hard as Mr. HAMLIN, have lived to the same age in as perfect health. Elijah HAMLIN was a contractor on the Erie canal, at Lockport, in 1822. William ADAMS, son of Deacon ADAMS, moved upon No 44 previous to 1800, and died there some years later. John ADAMS, another son, lived on the north side of the road, where Edward STEELE now resides; and Jonathan ADAMS, a third son, occupied the place now owned by J.S. STEELE. He subsequently moved farther north, where A. T. ADAMS now resides, and Benjamin WILSON took his place. Jonathan had a son John to succeed him; the latter is living in the village, eighty-one years of age.  Alvin, a son of John, is also a resident, aged seventy-eight. The place now known as the property of Deacon Andrew CONE was once the home of Nathan WILCOX. On the road running north past the school-house, on the place owned at present by F.B TOBEY, lived Christopher PARKS, a man fond of hunting and an excellent shot. His neighbor was Henry LAKE, likewise of the pioneers. Farther north, on the corner, lived Asa DOOLITTLE on the J.S. HAMLIN place, while west of him was the old pioneer, Colonel Asher SAXTON, the first overseer of the poor in the town, elected in 1796, and also a commissioner of highways. At his residence the town meetings were held for many years, and adjoining his barn the first town pound was located. Here, at SAXTON’s gathered the voting population, the first Tuesday in April each year, and elected for officers their best men. Political “bummers” were unknown to these people; swindling in public offices had not yet begun. “Hard and soft money” was not the main issue in the election of a chief magistrate. These honest pioneers desired honorable and worthy men for office, and such they continued to elect. Near Asher lived Philander SAXTON, who was of the early town officers. Just west of L. FORSYTH’s lived Daniel EMMONS at an early period. Although poor, and knowing much privation, going barefoot in summer and with poor-foot-covering in winter, lacking in times for bread, pounding corn for meal in mortars hollowed from stumps, and making long journeys to mill, they endured in common and bore troubles with patience. In the spring of 1795 the second school-building in the town was erected in this district. A brief description reveals the necessities of that day. The house itself was of logs; it was small in size, and had a fire-place almost the width of the interior. To form the window, a log was cut in part from each side and the space filled with greased paper. The roof was of clapboards, held in place by weight poles, and the low door hung on wooden hinges. Here the children of the pioneers assembled daily to receive instruction from Miss Louisa POST, whose place was next taken by Betsey SPRAGUE. Miss POST was married to Wm. H. BUSH, who moved in 1806 to Batavia and built “BUSH’s Mills,” three miles west of the place. He was one of Bloomfield’s early pioneers, and carded the first pound of wool by machinery, dressed the first piece of cloth, and made the first ream of paper west of Calendonia. The “old log school-house” stood near the dwelling of Philo HAMLIN, and long ago gave way to a neater, better structure.

South of the above-described district is no 3. A Baptist preacher, named Elnathan WILCOX, was the owner of about one hundred and fifty acres south of the road, where R. APPLETON now lives. The settlers were unable to support a minister, and yet preaching was indispensable, and a compromise resulted in making farming the means of obtaining a livelihood and sermonizing a gratuity. Rev. WILCOX came to Ontario from the Bay State, and passed his days on his western farm. He was, with others, active in religious labors, which were not unfrequently of great advantage to his neighbors and friends. East of him, on the southwest corner of lot 62, was Enoch WILCOX, who raised a large family, most of whom subsequently moved to Michigan. Ranson SPURR came in at an early day, and located where B. JONES occupies. Selling to Flavius J. BRONSON, SPURR removed to near Buffalo, where he kept a good tavern for many years, and, in 1812, accommodated those with lodgings who hauled their flour from Canandaigua to Buffalo. Mr. BRONSON is a resident of the town, and has but nine years to live to make him a centenarian. James MCMANN, a pioneer in this part, resided on the south side of the road, opposite an old school-house in the western part of the district, and died there at the age of one hundred years. Near the same place, on the north side of the road, lives his son Hiram, a native of the town and a man well advanced in years. An early predecessor of G. WOOLSTON upon his place was Reuben SMITH, and Branch EVERTS was a shoemaker in what is now the BAILEY neighborhood. EVERTS had sufficient work to keep him employed most of his time. Another resident on that road, although for a short time, was Mr. GOODING, who sold to William BAILEY and moved to Bristol. Upon the farm now owned by G. SPEEKER stands a log house built by Israel REED as early as 1800; its existence and appearance revive the olden day to the aged and arouse the curiosity of those of later times. It is well that it should remain—a monument of pioneer settlement, a vivid contrast of the past and present. One BARRETT was a proprietor of the place where B. BRADLEY inhabits. He had for a neighbor one DE PUE, who with two others, Daniel HARRIS and Hiram HANLEY, were killed at the burning of Buffalo. 

In district No 8 is the beautiful valley of East Bloomfield, a place which will stand favorable comparison with any other inland community of the State. Dr. Daniel CHAPIN, noted in the history of No. 9, was a pioneer in this locality, and about the year 1805, when he removed to Buffalo, Dr. Ralph WILCOX located near the Congregational church, in the village. Within a few weeks, Dr. Henry HICKOX came and settled west of the village, on the farm now the property of H.L. PARMALEE, and the need of medical services was in a fair way to be supplied. John FAIRCHILDS was on the farm now owned by W.C. TRACEY, at the time of original settlement, and west of him was Silas EGGLESTON, on the farm of Mr. DOWDIN. Northwest of the village was a pioneer named Abraham DUDLEY, where S.B.DUDLEY, his son, is a present resident. A Mr. BUSH owned and resided for some time upon the property of Moses EGGLESTON. John KEYES came in with the colony as a single man, and married one of Deacon ADAMS’ daughters. He moved on the farm of Erastus CARROLL. The original proprietor of the site of the village of East Bloomfield was Benjamin KEYES, who set apart the ground now the beautiful park, the pride of the villagers, an attractive spot to the stranger, rendered more so by the handsome monument erected to the memory of soldiers in the war of the rebellion. Deacon Ehud HOPKINS, one of the earliest justices of the peace in this region, and a resident where F.N. TOBEY dwells, is recalled in an anecdote of which he is the subject. About 1804, the settlers of the town had completed their first church edifice, and had hired for a year a certain preacher, who, desiring a permanent position, attempted to secure a bond from the society, and, somewhat on the Levitical plan, required a life-payment of one-tenth of their farm products annually. Before the close of the year, a party had been enlisted in favor of this plan, but a meeting being held, it was defeated by a majority vote. A reconsideration was moved, and pending the final vote, an adjournment for a week was effected. The adjourned meeting was in progress, and Deacon HOPKINS was active in discussing the propriety of the preacher’s plan, when, during a lull, there arose a quiet man named Moses KING, who spoke as follows: “Squire HOPKINS’ proposition recalls a recent dream. I thought that I had died, and had journeyed in darkness towards a gleam of light which proceeded from a key-hole in a door. I knocked; a black man opened, and, as I entered, closed and locked the door; then, turning harshly upon me, asked who and whence I was. I answered, “King, from Bloomfield.” Recognizing the place into which I had come, the “split-foot” was seen at a distance, engaged in business. In time this was finished, and I was introduced, and asked concerning the church quarrel in Bloomfield, and replied that the matter was settled. He became greatly excited, and gave orders for the best horse to be instantly saddled, and then inquired the names of the leading en in the society. I answered that there were John ADAMS, Lot REW, William ADAMS, Deacon BRONSON, Timothy BUELL, and Esquire HOPKINS. As the last name was mentioned, the old fellow arose and said. “Is Squire HOPKINS there?” I answered “Yes” He at once countermanded his order for the horse, and with great satisfaction said: I’ll tell you how it is, KING; if HOPKINS is there, he can fix that business as well as I can.” The story won, and the justice was beaten.

Elisha HOPKINS was a pioneer resident upon the splendid farm of Charles PAGE. Abner ADAMS, son of Deacon ADAMS, and father of Myon ADAMS, of Rochester, lived formerly upon the present property of Samuel STAFFORD. Gaius ADAMS, son of Joseph, and grandson of the deacon, resides in the village, and is well along in years. A part of the fine farm now owned by Frank BAILEY was the former property of a pioneer named Asa HAYWARD. His son is yet an inhabitant of the town. Elijah ROSE was an early settler on the same farm, having moved to the town with the ADAMS family in 1789. It has been stated, and is believed, that his wife, Anna ROSE, received fifty acres of land free of cost for having been the first white woman to settle in the town. True, she was the first, and being a great favorite, and the oldest of the party, when the company arrived at Canandaigua two of the men aided Mrs. ROSE in fording streams, and hastening forward, they reached the town a few hours before the arrival of the remainder of the party; but there is no record of a gift, and the piece claimed to have been given cost her fifty pounds sterling, as is shown by the following copy of the original deed: “To all people to whom these presents shall come, greeting. Know ye, that I, William BACON, of Sheffield, in the county of Berkshire and commonwealth of Massachusetts, Esquire, for and in consideration of fifty pounds to me in hand paid before the ensealing hereof, by Anna, the wife of Elisha ROSE, of Canandaique District in the county of Ontario and State of New York, yeoman, the receipt whereof I do hereby acknowledge, and am myself therewith fully satisfied, contented, and paid, have given granted, bargained, sold, aliened, released, conveyed, and confirmed……unto the said Anna ROSE…..the following tract of land, lying in town 10, in the fourth range….fifty acres of land lying on the east site of lot No 32, in the said town, beginning on the east line of said lot and running west on the north and south lines equal distances, so far as to contain fifty acres of land; whereof I have hitherto set my hand and seal, this the 14th day of June, A.D. 1792. Signed, sealed, and delivered in presence of Elisha HOPKINS, Benj. KEYES.

        [L.S.]                                           William BACON.”

 

A man named STILLWELL was a settler just west of HAYWARD, and opposite him was Isaac STONE, who had a cooper-shop and found employment at hooping a few cider-barrels and wash-tubs, and getting an occasional better job in an order for a new barrel. Where H. HOLCOMB has a good dwelling one Ephraim TURNER was an early tavern-keeper, succeeded by a Mr. KING. A tannery was carried on by Mr. TURNER were M. FULLER’s place is at present, and at a later day there was an ashery on the same lot. In 1806, Messrs. N. NORTON and E. BEACH rented a room in Philo HAMLIN’s residence, which stood upon the site of the Congregational parsonage, and opened the first place for the sale of merchandise in the town. They did a very good business for that date, and soon built a new storehouse—the one now occupied as a harness-shop by Mr. SPITZ.

In 1812, Jonathan CHILDS, who has since been mayor of Rochester, in company with a Mr. GARDNER, opened a store in HOLLOWAY’s tavern, but soon built the brick store now kept by Mr. HIGANBOTHAM. A little later and a farmer’s store was started by Roger SPRAGUE, Daniel BRONSON, and other grangers in the neighborhood; but buying when goods were high-priced, before the close of the war, they were unable to sell out at a profit, and the business was abandoned. Elisha BEACH received the first appointment as postmaster soon after opening his store.

Peter HOLLOWAY, who had a blacksmith-shop in the village about 1804, built a tavern about 1809, but kept it only a short time; it is now used as a residence by Frederick MUNSON. Previous to the war of 1812, Jared BOUGHTON, the pioneer settler of Victor, built the brick tavern yet used as such, and his son Frederick was the landlord. In 1804, Anson MUNSON removed for the northeast settlement to the village, where he started a tannery, and where his son Harlow yet lives in his seventy-seventh year. In 1798, Zadock BAILEY came to this town from Sheffield, where he had learned the trade of shoemaker. Later, he located on the farm now owned by Leander FORSYTH, one mile west of the village. He was born in Providence, Rhode Island, March 4, 1778, and is therefore over ninety-eight years of age, and the oldest man in the town.

District No 10 is traversed by Mud creek, and other streams rise in its territory. A saw-mill was erected by General FELLOWS and Augustus PORTER in 1790, on Mud creek, at a point fifty rods north of the North road, near J. KINGSBURY’s. Mr. NORTON’s journal, from which we have previously quoted, says: “Monday, the 12th of June, 1790—This day General FELLOWS’ saw-mill was raised, and Elisha HOSKINS, badly hurt, was taken up for dead, but came to, was bled and hopes indulged of his recovery.” This was the pioneer saw-mill in the town, and the third on the PHELPS and GORHAM purchase. Not long after, Joel STEELE came upon the KINGSBURY place, and within a few years advantaged the inhabitants by the erection of a grist-mill, the first one in town. A year or two previous to this a mill had been erected by the SMITHS in Farmington, and thither the people went for their flour and their meal. Prior to the convenience of this home mill, the settlers were accustomed to take an ox-team and sled, and make the journey to a mill in operation upon the “Mill tract,” on the present site of Rochester. Elisha STEELE settled where his son Elisha resides. The elder died about 1813, as Mrs. STEELE, his wife, survived till a few years since, and died aged ninety-six. Captain Nathan WALDRON was a pioneer in this section, and settled on the southeast corner of lot 13, where he carried on blacksmithing for several years. His shop was often seen stocked with old gun-barrels, sword-blades, etc., picked up on his farm near the old Indian village, and with these ancient relics of war he mended and made the implements of peaceful industry. On the east bank of the creek, just south of the road, was one ROBERTS, in a log house which sufficed for his family and an abode for himself until his death. Opposite Joel STEELE was Timothy BUELL, among the first settlers; his grandson, Charles BUELL, is now the occupant of the homestead. Joab LOOMIS built on the place now owned by G.W. REED, at an early period. This district, although limited in area, is honored as the birthplace of a congressman, Edward BRADY, who died in Michigan soon after his election. His birthplace is the farm now owned by Augustus BUELL.

South of No 10 is district No 5, upon the west part of which an early settler was Benjamin CHAPMAN. Near the creek Ashbel BEACH settled, he having moved thither in 1800, from his farm on lot 72. A mill built by him there at an early day is later known as “KING’s Mills,” from the proprietor. Israel BEACH was another pioneer in this locality. Linus GUNN, son of Moses GUNN, lived east of the creek; his wife was daughter to Amos BRONSON, the pioneer. She died in the spring of 1876, at the age of ninety-three, in full possession her faculties to the last.

On district No 6, west of No 5, at an early period, was Benjamin GAUSS, who came with the party in 1789 from Alford, Massachusetts. He was a soldier of the Revolution, enlisted at the age of sixteen, served till its close, and knew hardship in its most trying form. He was in battle at Johnstown and Sharon Springs, and one of the command engaged under Colonel Marinus WILLETT in the unsuccessful expedition to Oswego, in the winter of 1781, where he froze his feet badly. He was one of Judge PORTER’s assistants in the survey of several towns, and helped to harvest the first wheat raised in the town by Eber NORTON. His marriage to Sarah CODDING, daughter of Deacon CODDING, in 1793, was the first in the town, and among the first on the purchase. He died October 5, 1854, in his ninetieth year. Longevity is hereditary in the family. Two sons, Benjamin and Thayer, residents of the town, are aged respectively eighty-one and seventy-nine. Of a family of six children, all were living up to May 16, 1876, and the average of their ages is seventy-five years. A Presbyterian minister, named Aaron COLLINS, took up his residence on the northwest part of lot 48, in 1795, where he died several years later; he is remembered as having been a good preacher. His son, Frederick, is a resident of Rochester..A.H. ROWLEY is now the owner of the farm: and his father, Simeon ROWLEY, in his eighty-sixth year, resides with him. Amos BRONSON came into this district with his family in 1794, and located upon the present property of T. P. BUELL, and soon after opened a tavern there. He was from Berkshire, Massachusetts, and first came without his family, in 1793, and drove an ox-team, with which he was four weeks upon the road. The journey with his family, accomplished in fifteen days, was partly attributable to the improvement of the roads. Mr. BRONSON drove the first team that passed over the Centrefield road from Canandaigua, going west. This road, laid out in 1794 as a State road, was surveyed by Mr. ROSE. Mr. BRONSON died in 1835, and his wife followed him a few years later, at the age of ninety years. Moses GUNN located where S.B. SEARS now lives. He was of the original company from Berkshire, Massachusetts, and died in 1820. His son, Alanson, was an early tavern-keeper on the Canandaigua road. Gideon KING was a pioneer resident where J.H. BOUGHTON, son of the pioneer Jared BOUGHTON, now lives. At Mr. KING’s demise his son Gideon took the place. Daniel BRONSON became an early inhabitant where Amanda NEWTON lives, and opposite him John KEYES was a resident, having removed hither from another part of the town. Joel KELLOGG was on the corner where M. FITZMORRIS lives. KELLOGG is said to have driven the first team of mules brought to this town, using in lieu of a whip a pole armed with a spike. Among residents prior to 1797 were men named LAMBERTON, WINSLOW, TAINTER, and Joseph PARKER, whose nearest neighbor was Simeon DEMING, where W. DEMING now lives. The following is a reminiscence of James SPERRY, whose father was an early settler in the town, given as told in TURNER’s History: “In the fall of 1797 a young man, with a pack on his back, came into the neighborhood of Messrs. GUNN, GAUSS, KING, LAMBERTON and the BRONSONS’, two miles east of the southwest school-house, and one mile north of my father’s, and introduced himself as a school-teacher from the land of steady habits, proposing that they form a new district, and he would keep their school. The proposition was accepted, and all turned out late in the season, the young man volunteering his assistance, and built another log school-house, in which he kept a school in the winter of 1797 and ’98, and also the ensuing winter. The school was as full both winters as the house could hold. Two young men, John LAMBERTON and Jesse TAINTER, studied surveying both winters, and in 1800 the former commenced surveying for the Holland company, doing a larger amount of work upon this purchase than any other man…… 

In this school most of us learned, for the  first time, that the earth is round, and turns upon its axis,  making a revolution once in twenty-four hours, and that it revolves around the sun once in three hundred and sixty-five and one-quarter days. I shall never forget the teacher’s manner of illustration: For want of a globe, he took an old hat, doubled in the brim, marked a chalk-line round the middle for the equator, and another representing the ecliptic, and held it up to the scholars. Turning it, he made it illustrate the two motions, and a simultaneous shout from small and great showed the profound impression thus created. Although the school-master was a favorite with parents and pupils, the most orthodox thought he was upon unsafe ground, and teaching a doctrine contrary to common sense, since their practical experience was that the earth is mainly flat and immovable, and the sun was seen to rise and set daily. That teacher finally settled in Bloomfield, and served many years as justice of the peace, and a term each in the Legislature and as a member of Congress.” At the time this was written, about 1850, the former teacher was known as General Micah BROOKS, of Brooks’ Grove, Livingston county. Moses SPERRY, father of the author of the above sketch, moved from Massachusetts in the spring of 1794, and settled on what is now district No 2, on the farm now occupied by W. NUDD; here he remained till 1813, when he removed to Henrietta, where he died in 1826. Pitts HOPKINS resided at the cross-roads, where J. O’NEILL is now located. North of HOPKINS was Erastus ROWE previous to 1800.

In the southeast corner of the town is district No 1. When Ashbel BEACH first came to this part of the country, he located on lot 72, where he remained till about 1800, when he sold to Benjamin WHEELER, from Massachusetts. The business of a drover was begun by Mr. WHEELER, who gathered the surplus stock of the settlement, and, driving them east, there made sale. He built the frame house now owned and occupied by Simeon R. WHEELER, his grandson, in 1800, and in 1802 had erected a grist-mill on Mud creek, where David THOMAS now has a seed-and grist-mill, and was likewise known as the owner of a distillery. His death occurred on the place about 1839. John H. WHEELER, his son, was a soldier in the war of 1812, and was known as a prominent citizen of the town. Joel PARKS settled very early where Mark JOPSEN resides, and built the frame house now there, and in which he passed his later years. George LEE came about 1802, and settled on the farm now occupied by his descendants. A man named WALKER was a resident of the place after 1802, now owned by B.S. SIMMONS. Israel BEACH had a cabin where S.G. CASTLE now resides, and which was occupied later by his son Israel CASTLE. At East Bloomfield station is the beginning of a thriving village, with one good hotel, kept by J.M.BOUGHTON; one store conducted by Tubbs & Co.; a grain-warehouse and coal-yard, owned by S. ROWLEY, and other lumber industries. While tracing towards their source the events of any locality or people, there is always an increasing interest as we reach the bounds of reliable history and draw upon the unwritten traditions handed down to succeeding generations, and it is a matter of regret that aboriginal tradition has not been preserved. While viewing the broad expanse of grain-fields, fine groves, fruitful old orchards, pleasant meadows, fine dwellings, churches and school-houses, and the granite shafts erected in memory of the honored dead, we cannot but reflect that here, where the white man’s industry and craft has built up a noble estate of immense wealth, less than a century ago the SENECAS held their councils and the young warriors set forth upon the war-path. Their arrows are gathered as curiosities of the museum, their nation has dwindled to a community, their gardens are now farms, and villages of different architecture have taken the place of Gannagarro.

AGRICULTURAL

Hop-raising is the leading agricultural interest of the town, and yearly shows an increasing business. One of the first successful experimenters in this branch of farming was George THOMPSON. Charles PAGE purchased his farm and has carried on the business over twenty-five years. He has one of the   largest and best worked hopperies in this locality. R. MASON is also largely engaged in hop-raising, and many others have made handsome profits during a few seasons in the business. Failures in the crop and the increase of insect depredators prevent a heavy venture in the business. North of the village of East Bloomfield about two miles is the magnificent apple-orchard of O.C. CHAPIN, which is one of the largest and best in western New York. It contains about one hundred and twenty-five acres, mostly BALDWIN trees, young and thrifty. The annual yield has been about three thousand barrels, and the promise of 1876 is of a much larger product. Mr. CHAPIN has had large experience in fruit-growing, as is evidenced by the uniformity of growth and the appearance of the trees. Attempts have been made to raise grapes, but the crop is not certain, and many who formerly had several acres in vineyard have removed the vines and engaged in other better-paying fruits.

Manufactures and other interests are connected with the village of East Bloomfield. Carriage-making is the leading branch of manufacture, represented by two establishments. The pioneer firm is that of M. HAYS, who began to do business in the village in 1839, and has steadily increased his facilities and executive capacity. An experience of nearly a half-century has enabled him to perfect his work, and so earn a reputation for satisfactory work. The yearly manufacture is about one hundred carriages and buggies, and about half as many single-and double-seated cutters and sleighs. Suitable machinery for different parts of the work are supplied. Of blacksmiths, wood-workers, painters, and trimmers he has a total of some thirteen hands, some of whom have been employed full thirty years. The large building is seventy by forty feet, with lumber-and engine-room attached. The blacksmith-shop is twenty-four by fifty-three feet. Mr. HAYS has never had a partner, and has been the builder of all the structures which comprise the establishment. Burned out in 1852, the loss was at once made good, and the business is still carried on by the original founder, now seventy-seven years of age. The carriage-manufactory of S. MAYO & Son was established about 1846, on the street leading to the depot. The first buildings were burned in January, 1873, but, with prompt aid of friends, were soon rebuilt on the opposite side of the street from the old works. A wagon-and paint-shop in one building is forty-eight by twenty-four feet, a blacksmith-shop twenty-four by thirty feet, and a store-room forty-eight by thirty feet. Various styles of workmanship and excellent finish rank the work with the best. Linus G. STEELE is the present proprietor of a large factory comprised in several buildings, and devoted to the manufacture of the SEYMOUR drill and the SEYMOUR plaster sower. While in charge of the former owners, TAFT & PERKINS, a bronze medal was given to the firm as the evidence of a first premium for the SEYMOUR drill in the great trial of agricultural implements held at Utica, in 1870. These branches of industry, affording permanent employment to many heads of families, contribute to place the village in a creditable position with regard to other villages in this section. T. CUMMINGS has a large blacksmith-shop for general work, and several stores supply the residents and neighborhood with goods and groceries. Four neat and handsome churches speak well for religious sentiment, a large academy is indicative of school interest, and neat residences attest a people living in comfortable enjoyment of homes. The medical profession has four representatives; the oldest physician is DR. D.C. WEBSTER; others are William M. SILVERNAIL, of the Eclectic College of Philadelphia; Edwin O. HOLLISTER, of the Bellevue Medical College; and T. WEBSTER, of Buffalo Medical College. Among early lawyers many be named Spencer COLE, a resident previous to 1812 & the builder of what is now used as the post office, and a successful man.  Isaac MARSH removed here in 1810and began the practice of law.  He had earlier been a partner of General Walter WOOD, at Aurora, New York, and died in 1820.  F. W. HAMLIN also practiced here a short time, but the village is at present without a representative of the profession.  The most attractive feature of the village is its delightful little park, containing the soldier's monument.  In the year 1868 the patriotic people of the village laid out and beautified a neat park, and in the centre, on the summit of a large mound, erected a fine brown granite monument, costing $6,000. It is surmounted by a life sized figure of a soldier in fatigues dress, standing at rest, and looking far away to the southern horizon, as if to see the troops return with gay and gallant tread.  Upon the four sides of the shaft is carved the war record of the town.  Prominent in front is the roll of honor of the 85th New York Volunteers, and above the names of battles, while near the base is this inscription: 

" EAST BLOOMFIELD.  " To the memory of her sons who died in defense of the Union, 1861-65." 

With but a nominal regular army, the dependence of the republic is upon the patriotism of her citizen soldiery, and it is well that the honors paid the fallen should evince to the survivors a recognition of their services. "

 

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