Town of Geneva History 

History of Ontario Co, NY   Pub 1878    

pg 138 - 139

 

Transcribed by Dianne Thomas

 

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TOWN OF GENEVA

GENEVA was set off from the old town of Seneca, October 11, 1872, with the following boundaries: "All that part of the town of Seneca lying east of the west line of the first tier of township lots next west of the old pre-emption line."

Among the first settlers in the this town was Jerome LUMMIS, who came from Connecticut, and located northwest of the village, in the year 1788.  Mr. LUMMIS was a soldier in the Revolutionary war, and served gallantly in the "Northern Rangers," under command of Major WHITCOMB.  HE was one of Geneva's most honored pioneers and greatly assisted the setters in their early movements.  The first oats in the new country were brought from Schenectady by Mr. LUMMIS, and sowed on the ground now occupied by D. W. BAIRD's carriage works. 

Six children are now living, Stephen T., Irene, Homer, Henry H., Mary J. and Cordelia.  Henry H. is an elder in the Reformed church of Geneva.

John SCOON emigrated from Scotland in about the year 1800, and located in the village.  He subsequently settled in the town, a short distance south.  Two sons are now living in the country: William in Seneca nad James in this town.  Thomas HUIE, a solder of the War of 1812, familiarly known as "Major HUIE", was a pioneer, located on lot 18.  The father (Marsena, 1761-1855) of Alfonso WHEADON (b. 1797) (Weadon in census info), who now resides on lot 12, at an advanced age, was also an early settler.  

Thomas MC KLELVIE, left the banks and braes of "auld Scotia," and in an early day located on lot 21, where a son, Charles, now resides.  James BARNES early located on lot 33, on lands now owned by a grandson, Washington BARNES, and James SCOON, Esq.  James BARNES Jr., was an early setter on lot 22.

At the close of the Revolution, many of those who participated in that arduous struggle, sought a home in the fertile country of the Senecas.  Among these was Cornelius ROBERTS, who located on lot 20.  He was a large land owner and erected one of the primitive grist and saw mills in this county, on what is now known as Cromwell's creek.  One descendant, Mrs. SNOW, now resides in the village of Geneva.  Benjamin CROMWELL, father of John CROMWELL, was an early settler, and the proprietor of a tannery at Cromwell's Hollow.  Lot 35 was settled by Aaron BLACK, who has numerous descendants residing in the towns of Seneca and Geneva.  Hugh BLACK, brother of Aaron, early located a home on lot 11, where he now resides at an advanced age.  Mr. PRICE is one of the oldest pioneers now living in the town, and is very familiar with its early history.

John MC INTYRE was a worthy pioneer, who located on lot 17, on lands now owned by James WILKIE.  One son, S. S. MC INTYRE, a prominent citizen, resides on lot 13, where Adam FISHER was an early setter.  The father of H. V. R. SCHERMERHORN was a pioneer on lot 17, on premises now owned by J. J. HALSTEAD.  On the lands now owned by W. ROSE, George WILKIE had early located.  He was from Scotland.

Christopher RICHARDSON, father of William nad Francis E., early settled in the north part of the town; and George BENNETT, father of John L., Charles, Horace D. and George JR., also located in the north part, on lot 5, now owned by MAXWELL brothers.  Archibald BLACK settled in the north part of the town, on lands now owned and occupied by a son, John BLACK.  B. C. WOODEN was also a pioneer.

William ANSLEY, form Pennsylvania, settled in the south part of the county, in what is now the town of Geneva, in 1786.  Three sons are living in the county: James, in Seneca; Marcus in this town; and Alanson, a merchant in the village of Geneva.

The following sketch of Kashong is taken from S. C. CLEVELAND's excellent, "History of Yates County:"

"The first white settlers at this place were the French traders, DE BARTZCH and POUDRE.  Kashong was the gateway by which settlers entered that part of the country.  It was known for many years as 'Ben BARTON's Landing.'  It was a beautiful spot, were a fine Indian village had been destroyed by SULLIVAN's men.  Some of the Indian apple trees, it is said, remained over 50 years after the first settlement of the country.  

"Major BARTON was interested in the Niagara Lessee Company, and agent for it.  In 1787 he aided in driving a drove of cattle and sheep from New Jersey to Niagara to supply the British garrison and Indian department.  He bought of Dominic DE BARTZCH, a farm of 700 acres in Kashong.  It has been stated by Major BARTON's son, that the purchase was made of POUDRE; but John H. JONES, an early surveyor and Indian interpreter, who witnessed the confirmation of the bargain, does not so relate. He stated that POUDRE was the servant of DE BARTZCH, and assisted him in the Indian trade.  He says DE BARTZCH made the sale, and Major BARTON afterwards had some difficulty in getting it ratified by the State, as it was strenuously opposed, probably by REED and RYCKMAN.  He succeeded by the kind assistance of Governor George CLINTON.

"It has been said, and it is not improbable, that a Catholic priest from Oswego, visited Kashong while DE BARTZCH and POUDRE were there, and held religious services, the red men and women of the vicinity forming the principal audience.  Such a visitation, if it occurred, was in the footsteps of the Jesuit fathers, who had done so much more than a centry before to convert the Iroquois to Catholicism.

"Major BARTON resided at Kashong about 20 years.  He married the daughter of James LATTA, an early settler in the town of Seneca.  From 1802 to 1806, he was sheriff of Ontario County, by appointment of Governor George CLINTON, and was a man of high consideration in the country.  He, as a surveyor, and was long employed by the surveyor general in the survey of the Military tract.  As his son, James L. BARTON, related in an address at Buffalo, in 1848 he became 'forehanded' and determined to build a better house than the log cabin he had at first inhabited."  He proceeds with the narrative, as follows:

"He commenced in 1796 to 1797, the erection of a large, square, two story frame house, and from its peculiar and favorable locality, and beautiful site on the traveled road from Geneva to Bath, supposed it might be wanted in time for a tavern, nad had a large ballroom made in it.  Owing to adverse circumstances, one of which was the failure of the contractor, he lost $300, a large sum at that time.  Another was that his lumber, after being well dried and fit for use, caught fire in the kiln and was destroyed.  These retarded its completion for many years.  At length  it was finished, and being the only house for several miles around of a suitable site for the purpose, the master workman and his joiners, together with some other younger men, were desirous of having a house warming and spinning bee.  That year he had grown an extraordinary crop of flax, and the young men said that if he would let them have the frolic, they would hackle and dress the flax, get the fiddlers, collect the girls and do all they could to lighten the burden on him.  He gave his permission; they turned in and dressed the flax, and then, making up 72 half pound bunches, put them in bags, and scattered them round the country for several miles, among the girls, as cards of invitation.  

"In those days there were no pianos nor guitars in the country, and the girls made music on spinning wheels, and the notes they practiced were upon flax and wool.  The flax was to be spun into threads of a certain number, and on the evening of the party, each girl was to bring her skein of thread.  Those who lived on roads leading direct, came in wagons.  Others, who lived in the woods, where some of the prettiest girls were found, mounted a horse behind a young man, with a blanket to sit upon, dressed in their every day apparel, with woolen stocking and strong shoes on.  They would dash through the woods on some trail, through brooks and over every obstacle in their way, carrying their ball dress and skein of thread in a bundle in their hand.  A few minutes at the toilet, put them in condition for the ball room.  Others, living only a mile or two away, thought it no great task to come on foot.  In the ball room, there rosy cheeks , their sparkling eyes, and blooming health, gave pleasure to all who beheld them; and their vigorous systems, strengthened by hard daily labor, enabled them to dance and enjoy it, and with life and spirit would they skip through the dance, lie the young fawns of their own woods.  the supper was prepared  by my mother, and well, too, from the products of the farm, and, with the addition of coffee, tea, sugar and some light wine, was all that was necessary or desired.

"Information reaching Geneva of the party, about 30 of the elite of that place came down and joined heartily in the pleasure going on.  As no barn could hold the horses, they were picketed around the wagons and fences, and plenty of hay spread before them.  As daylight began to appear, the girls would doff their ball dresses and having again donned the homespun, disappear for their houses in the woods."

 

CIVIL HISTORY

The first town meeting in Geneva was held at the FRANKLIN house, March 4, 1873, when the following officers were chosen: John J. DOOLITTLE, supervisor; Charles KIPP, clerk; George W. FRENCH, Martin H. SMITH, justices of the peace; George R. LONG, William H. GAMBIE, assessors, Samuel S. GRAVES, commissioner of highways; William H. DOX, overseer of the poor; Edmund S. SPENDLOVE, collector; John SEABURY, William VAN NESS, William RINGER, George H. MYERS, Nicholas B. SMITH, constables; Henry D. BEACH, game constable;  Thomas MC BLAIN, Horace H. BENNETT, Charles STEELE, David W. BAIRD, Simeon D. ROBINSON, Benjamin W. KEYES, Jr., inspectors of election.

The present officers are: Abram ROBINSON, supervisor; Luther W. ANGUS, clerk; Charles BEAN, Samuel MC BLAIN, justices of the peace; George R. LONG, assessor; Samuel S. GRAVES, commissioner of highways; John OSTRANDER, overseer of the poor; William G. DOOR, collector; E. Jenkins BURRALL, James SCOON, D. B. BACKENSTOSE, auditors; William VAN NESS, George H. MYERS, Charles H. WEBSTER, John SEABURY, Nicholas B. SMITH, constables; Isaac G. ROBERTS, game constable; George WILKINSON, William H. GAMBIE, Charles A. STEELE, William H. SUYDAM, David W. BAIRD, B. W. KEYES JR., William SLOSSON, George S. CONOVER, John J. HALSTEAD, inspectors of elections; Patrick COURSEY, excise commissioner.  

 

 

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