History of Ontario County , New York


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  Kindly transcribed by  Deborah Spencer



              From History of Ontario County, NY  

                         Published 1878    Pg 47 - 54                       



"The farmer is king" is a laconic verity.  The farm has been the basis of all wealth.  On the tiller of the soil the massed population of cities depend for food; upon the cultivator the trade and the profession rest their hopes of advancement.  When the crop is abundant there is prosperity, and failure is a calamity.  Our chapter reviews the past, notes the present, and anticipates the future.  In all references to the earliest settlers, intelligence has been ascribed to them especially in reference to their first clearings.  Were the old times returned when the car was not imagined and the canal unplanned, when roads were blazed and plows had wooden mold-boards, the settler would repeat the actions of that time.  Entering on his land, the brush was cut and piled in one long row, trees were skillfully felled from either side to rest and commingle their branches and limbs, and twigs dry as tinder, fired with favoring wind, swept in one red conflagration to the end.  On the warm, rich earth, among the charred logs, the wheat was scattered and rudely covered; it grew almost spontaneously and gave abundant yield.  As years went by, choppers were hired during the season, at low rates, to deaden timber or to cut the trees in logging lengths.
The culture of corn had been carried on by the Senecas for centuries, and the white race supplemented this by grain and vegetables.  Between the months of June and October, 1789, the first wheat was sown in Ontario County.  It has been generally understood and handed down to the present that Abner BARLOW sowed the first wheat west of Cayuga lake, and the place was a lot in the village of Canandaigua.  Moses ATWATER, in a communication to the Ontario Repository, in 1817, says, "By the request of several gentlemen, and to convince the farmer that the natural soil of this county is composed of fossil substances that are durable and prolific in the production of wheat, the subscriber is induced to state the following facts: that in 1789 he cleared and sowed with wheat the front part of his village lot, No. 2, in Canandaigua, being the first wheat sown in the county; that since that time the same land has been constantly improved; that part of the premises he prepared and sowed with bearded wheat, in October, 1816, and in August, 1817, after careful processes in gathering, cleaning, and weighing, the crop was found to weigh sixty pounds to the bushel, and to produce sixty-nine and one-third bushels to the acre."  Signed, Moses ATWATER, September 12, 1817.

This village lot fronted Main street, where the new Union school building stands, and extended west to contain ten or more acres.  The honor will remain to Mr. BARLOW, whose portrait in the court-room of the court-house in Canandaigua is encircled by the golden grain wreath.

The grain is known to have given heavy yield, but there were two great difficulties attending the crop: the harvest and the sale.  The fields often stood long uncut, and the reapers who went forth early to labor with the thermometer at ninety-five degrees were long in cutting down the crop; when this work was done the flail or the cattle's hoofs threshed it out, the winnowing was done, and it was ready for market.  Grain was hauled to Albany and goods brought back; the cost of transportation deducted from the market price left little to encourage the producer.  The make-shifts of the early farmer will never be fully known.  There were periods of privation, when the trap and rifle alone prevented suffering.  Rye was grown for the distillation of whisky, which held a known price, and the settler was fain to gather up his ashes for sale at the rude asheries that, with knowledge of the profits, rapidly sprang up in various localities.

That all were not content to do as their fathers had done is evidenced by the action of a Canandaigua farmer of 1806.  Deeply interested in agricultural improvement, he improved seed corn.  His practice was to select the best ears for seed, and he found his crop to improve annually.  A neighbor ridiculed the plan; a test was made; adjoining fields of like soil were planted, and tilled alike, and at the same time.  The neighbor raised forty bushels per acre, while the progressive farmer received nearly sixty bushels from selected seed.  This farmer selected for good, clean seed wheat, sheaves of the best growth in his field; he spread them on the barn floor and drew  out the best and heaviest heads, and thereby secured the best kernels free from foul seeds. He plowed deep furrows in breaking fallow grounds, to secure depth of soil, and thereby obtained heavier grain and longer straw.  Such examples as these demonstrate that the famous wheat of the Genesee valley combined in its production intelligence of the farmer and fertility of his fields.

Debt was punished by imprisonment, and grain knew no cash value.  In this extremity, various were the endeavors to find new channels of remunerative trade.  Sheep were raised by the thousand, till the depreciation in price caused many to leave the business, when it would again revive; cattle were driven to Albany, and the drover was early and long recognized as an auxiliary of the farmer, by whom he was well paid in the scale of price between purchase and sale.  The culture of the hop, the vine, and the fruit-tree are a trio of interests, successful in localities and dependent upon patience, skill, and capital.  The products of the dairy have from early years maintained a prominent place in the resources of the husbandmen.

The lesson taught by the settlers to the present farmer, and a lesson learned with profit, has been that of self-dependence.  Step by step needs were met and changes made, until in dwellings, fences, fields, crops, stock, and machinery, the intelligent Ontario farmer stands out as an independent, progressive man.

The prices of various products in 1801 were as follows:  Wheat, seventy-five cents; corn, three shillings; rye, fifty cents; hay, six to twelve dollars per ton; butter and cheese, eleven to sixteen cents a pound; salt pork, eight to ten dollars per cwt; whisky found ready sale at fifty to seventy-five cents per gallon; salt, was five dollars per barrel; sheep, two to four dollars per head; cattle for driving, three to four dollars per cwt; milch cows, sixteen to twenty-five dollars a head; horses, one hundred to one hundred and twenty-five dollars per span; working oxen, from fifty to eighty dollars per yoke; laborers' wages were from ten to fifteen dollars per month, including board.  A home-made suit of clothes brought four to five dollars; and shoes were one dollar and seventy-five cents to two dollars and fifty cents per pair.

Prior to the completion of the Erie canal, produce was taken to Albany, at first by sleighs in winter and boats in summer, and later enormous wagons with several spans of horses were used in the carrying trade.  Spafford says of farmers of Ontario in 1810, "Agriculture, already very respectable, is rapidly improving under the general and progressive exertions of hardy industry, and the enlightened and patriotic exertions of men of wealth, talents, and influence.  There are but few portions of this State that display more of agricultural opulence than the country between Canandaigua and Genesee river, a tract of country abounding alike with superior richness and fertility of soil.  Great care and attention have marked the efforts of farmers in this county to improve the breeds of domestic stock; the merino has been introduced, with the choicest breeds of horned cattle.  A Mr. WADSWORTH, of Honeoye, an extensive and enterprising farmer, has near three thousand sheep of his own flocks."

The price of grain throughout the war, from 1812 to 1815, gave life to trade; but on the declaration of peace prices fell flat, only to recover with the diminished cost of conveyance.  In the fall of 1812, Augustus PORTER advertised, through his agents, to pay one dollar per bushel for wheat, to be delivered at various mills through the country.  In 1813 this grain was worth eleven shillings per bushel; and in 1814 it sold for one dollar and twenty-five cents, and rye brought one dollar.  As late as August, 1821, the stagnation in prices is indicated by an offer of James LYON to pay four shillings per bushel for ten thousand bushels of first quality of wheat, delivered at Chapin's Mills, "in goods or cash debts."  The Hessian fly damaged the wheat crop materially in 1824, and the next year the price had recovered to seven shillings per bushel.  A change has swept over products, prices, machinery, and methods.  The utensils of the past---the sickle, hoe, maul, and wedge, the oven and irons, spinning-wheels, and tall clocks---have disappeared from sight, and in their place stand reaper, drill, sower, and buggy rake; in the household, the sewing-machine, the wringer, and washer; and in the pleasant parlor, the organ or piano.  The growing of wheat, from the first grains scattered by Barlow down to the present, has been a staple industry of the farmer.  To some extent, attention has been given to the raising of spring wheat, but winter wheat is still the preference.  The crop of 1864 was six hundred and fifty-nine thousand eight hundred and seventy bushels.  It is unfortunate that the Canada thistle has effected a lodgment on the farms of the county.

In 1815, Mr. WOOD went to Albany with a load of produce; he there fed his horses hay from the wagon-box.  On his return home the hay was thrown out, and up sprang the thistles, which have defied every effort at their extirpation, and proved a pest to the harvester and thresher.
Of oats, there were harvested in 1864, 410,301 bushels.  Rye is now raised to a limited extent; while barley, from 190,854 bushels in 1865, has shown a heavy increase.  Our statistics date back to 1864, when there was raised, of corn, 874,349 bushels; potatoes, 359,126 bushels; apples, 694,512 bushels; milch (milk) cows, 13,411; butter, pounds, 1,110,592; sheep shorn in that year, 195,450; pounds of wool, 921,568; the value of poultry owned was $44,554.30 ; eggs sold, $27,218.86 ; trees in fruit, 268,539 ; hops, 178,164 pounds; hay, tons, 58,182.

In association, society, and fair, the agricultural interests have been considered, and the heavy farmers of Ontario have confirmed the theories of the scientific and generally-diffused individual discoveries.  The growth amid the logs, of rye, wheat, and corn, with rank, healthful stalk, led the farmer to forget that ultimately his soil would become exhausted.  The lesson, early and later, has been generally taught, and with rotation, fallow, and clover has come a use---destined to increase---of fertilizers.  Farming by hand with rude tools, and permitting a growth of weeds to ripen when the crop was harvested, entailed an injury to succeeding harvests and depreciation of fertility.  An enumeration of the farmer's foes gives pigeon-weed, cheese, wild mustard, cockle, thistle, daisy, dock, mayweed, and bindweed; and besides there are the sorrel, mullein, and burdock.

Observation of the farm dwellings of to-day presents us with individual instances of fine residences, and comfortable barns for grain and stock; but generally simple comfort and commodious homes are seen, while in the hillier regions the log house holds its ancient and permanent seat.  While Ontario is old in years, wealthy in lands, and respected for intelligent direction of industry, her farms present evidences of a varied population.  The long lists, the choice varieties, the frequent competitions, all attest a class of farmers first and foremost in the growth of superior breeds of stock and the practice of advanced modes of cultivation.

All varieties of sheep have been brought on to Ontario, but from the first the merino has had the preference.  The war of the Rebellion, requiring woolen uniforms for a million men, gave a stimulus to production of wool, and the raising of sheep knew a brief revival.

The fair was early projected and made successful by WILLIAMSON.  It was in 1807 that fairs began to be held in this part of Ontario.  A notice appeared in the press of Geneva that there would be exhibited for sale in that village, on the second Tuesday in October, a great number of fat and lean cattle, hogs, sheep, horses, cattle, etc., with samples of wheat and other grains from all parts of the Genesee country.  A fair was appointed for the first Tuesday in May, 1808, and the same was to be continued semi-annually as designated from year to year.  Efforts having their origin in local enterprise continued to occupy attention, and the desire to improve upon these agricultural assemblages became general.

County agricultural societies began to be established through the New England States about 1807, and a report was submitted to the Legislature of New York on March 5, 1818, advising an appropriation of twenty thousand dollars for the benefit of all counties in the State, for premiums on agriculture and manufacture.  One thousand of this was apportioned to Ontario, on the basis of twenty dollars to each thousand inhabitants.

In January, 1819, the board of supervisors published a call to meet at the court-house, on February 18 following, to consider the project of forming an agricultural society in this county.  Agreeable to the notice, a meeting was held, and the county court, then in session, adjourned to accommodate the agricultural meeting.  Hon. John NICHOLS was selected chairman, and Myron HOLLEY was chosen clerk.  Earnest resolutions were unanimously adopted, and the first "Ontario County Agricultural Society" was formed.  Annual dues of members were fixed at one dollar per member.  Hon. John NICHOLS was elected president; William WADSWORTH, Darius COMSTOCK, Philetus SWIFT, Gideon GRANGER, and Moses ATWATER, vice-presidents; John GREIG, secretary; and Thomas BEALS, treasurer.  The town managers selected were, for Canandaigua, Thaddeus CHAPIN; Phelps, Thaddeus OAKS; Penfield, Daniel PENFIELD; Lima, Matthew WARNER; Benton, Truman SPENCER; Genesee, William H. SPENCER; Victor, Israel MARSH; Italy, Timothy BURNS; Lyons, William PATTEN; Farmington, Jonathan SMITH; Avon, William S. HOMER; Sparta, William McCARTNEY; Palmyra, Daniel WHITE; Groveland, William FITZHUGH; Rush, Anthony CASE; Brighton, Oliver CULVER; Richmond, Gideon PITTS; Perrinton, Simeon BRISTOL; Milo, Benedict ROBINSON; Henrietta, Jacob STEVENS; Naples, Joseph CLARK; Livonia, Ruel BLAKE; Williamson, Jacob W. HALLETT; Middlesex, David SUTHERLAND; Seneca, John COLLINS; Sodus, Enos MOORE; Bloomfield, Clark PECK; Gorham, John PRICE; Mendon, Timothy BARNARD; Bristol, George CODDING; Pittsford, John HARTWELL; Jerusalem, George BROWN; Ontario, Jonathan BOYINGTON; Springwater, Alvah SOUTHARD.

The county of Ontario then embraced thirty-four towns within her boundaries, and the names given may stand as those of leading agriculturists of that period.  At this meeting the time of annual election was fixed, and a provision made that any person, upon payment of fifteen dollars to the treasurer, might become a life-member without subsequent payment of annual subscription.  The officers of the society held their first meeting on Tuesday, April 13, 1819.  They prepared a premium list and adjourned to meet in August at the court-house, to complete arrangements for their first "show" in October.  The amount of the premiums reached one thousand dollars.

On October 18, 1819, a cattle-show, an exhibition of manufacturers, and a plowing-match were advertised to take place in Canandaigua.  The committee of arrangements for the first two parts of the programme was composed of Moses ATWATER, John GREIG, and Thomas BEALS.  Cattle, swine, and sheep were exhibited in a field opposite Hart's tavern.  The plowing-match was at 11 A.M.   At 2 P.M., refreshments were provided for members.  At 3 P.M., a procession was formed by the society, who marched to the court-house, under direction of William H. ADAMS, and an address written by the president was read by Nathaniel W. HOWELL.

This, the first agricultural fair held in Ontario, was pronounced a grand success, and a determination was envinced to continue the annual exhibition and farmers' holiday.  For president, the second year, Gideon GRANGER was chosen; vice-presidents, William WADSWORTH, Darius COMSTOCK, Philetus SWIFT, N. ALLEN, and M. ATWATER.  The secretary and treasurer were re-elected.  Thirty-four town managers were appointed.  This fair reflected credit upon its officers in its conduct.  Snow and rain made the day unpleasant; there was no set place to house the animals or exhibit the goods.  Members of the society wore, as a badge, "well-selected ears of wheat, handsomely tied with blue ribbon, upon their hats."  The large concourse of farmers bespoke the interest felt.

November 1, 1819, an exhibition of domestic manufacture was held at the court-house, and premiums on cloth were awarded to Peter SMITH and James HARLAND, of Farmington; Jonathan BUELL, A. MUNSON, Joel STEELE, Martha GOULD, and Herman CHAPIN, of East Bloomfield; Harvey STEELE, of Canandaigua; Sally WARNER, Lima; Samuel HEWETT, George PECK, and Miranda PECK, of West Bloomfield; Elisha HIGBY, Gorham; Joshua A. CARPENTER, Sparta; and Jonas ALLEN, of Mendon.  The first winter meeting was held at the court-house, February, 1820.

Notice was given April 4, 1820, by John GREIG, Esq., of an official meeting to be held on April 11, to prepare a premium list, and to consider the propriety of offering a premium for the best cultivated farm in the county.  The premium list was published in May, and on July 4 the examination of farms was made by the committee.

On October 3, 1820, the second fair was held in the meadow of Judge ATWATER, adjoining the State road, west of the sand hill.  Wm. H. ADAMS was marshal of the day.  An agricultural ball was given, and G. GRANGER, president, addressed the society at the court-house.  The following owners of farms were awarded a premium of ten dollars each for the best cultivation: Bloomfield, Daniel RICE; Bristol, George CODDING; Canandaigua, Harvey STEELE; Farmington, Jonathan SMITH; Groveland, John HARRISON; Gorham, Robert S. CULVER; Italy, Wm. CLARK, Jr.; Jerusalem, Joel DORMAN; Lima, Asahel WARNER; Milo, M. F. SHEPARD; Middlesex, Elias GILBERT; Mendon, Timothy BARNARD; Naples, John L. CLARK; Phelps, Wells WHITMORE; Palmyra, Asa B. SMITH; Perrinton, G. RAMSDELL; Pittsford, John HARTWELL; Sodus, Wm. N. LOOMIS; and in Victor, Jared Boughton.  In the remaining towns there was no competition.  Edgcomb CHAPPEL took the first premium on the greatest quantity of good quality of wheat raised upon one acre, which was eighty bushels, eleven pounds, and thirteen ounces.  The committee on publication were Walter HUBBELL and Mark H. SIBLEY.  At the winter meeting, held February, 1821, Bayze BAKER, of Bloomfield, was awarded first premium for the largest of potatoes raised upon one acre of land, which quantity was five hundred and nine and one-half bushels, and Hon. Robert TROUP, of Geneva, presented the society fifty-four dollars in behalf of the Pulteney estate.  The exhibition in 1823 included the counties of Wayne and Yates.  The fair continued to exist for a number of years, John GREIG serving as president.  At one of these annual gatherings, were toasts or sentiments were given, the following was offered:  "More draining of lands, and less draining of bottles;" and also, "The farmer's cardinal points---good tools, strong teams, neat farms, and smart wives."

THE ONTARIO AGRICULTURAL SOCIETY dates its preliminary organization from a horticultural meeting at Blossom's Hotel, September 27, 1838.  J. GREIG, F. GRANGER, J.D. BEMIS, A. DUNCAN, and W. BLOSSOM, were committee of arrangements.  Notice of the first meeting of the Ontario Agricultural Society was given for October 20, 1840, by order of John GREIG, president, and Oliver PHELPS and William W. GORHAM, secretaries.

The fair was held.  John RANKINE delivered the address.  A large attendance of farmers was present, and the occasion was highly creditable to all.  The officers elected in 1840, at this first fair, were: John GREIG, president; Gideon LEE, of Seneca, Herman CHAPIN, Bloomfield, Peter MITCHELL, Manchester, Joseph FELLOWS, Geneva, Wm. OTTLEY, Phelps, Irving METCALF, Gorham, vice-presidents; Oliver Phelps, corresponding, and William W. GORHAM, recording secretary; and James D. BEMIS, treasurer.  The following town committees were also selected: Canandaigua, John McCONNELL, Chas. SHEPARD, Henry HOWARD; Canadice, Hiram COLGROVE, Josiah JACKSON, Sylvester AUSTIN; East Bloomfield, F.J. BRONSON, B. BRADLEY, Myron ADAMS; West Bloomfield, Reynold PECK, Jasper C. PECK, Bazaleel C. TAFT; Bristol, Francis MASON, Erastus H. CROW, Anson PACKARD; South Bristol, Franklin CROOKER, Allen BROWN, James PARMERLY, Jr.; Gorham, Ephraim BLODGETT, Nathaniel SMITH, David PICKETT; Hopewell, Theodore CROSBY, Eli BENHAM (2d), George CAWARD, Jr.; Manchester, Nicholas HOWLAND, Edmund D. DEWEY, Abner BARLOW, Jr.; Naples, Alanson WATKINS, E.W. CLEVELAND, James L. MONIER; Farmington, Russell M. RUSH, Wilmarth SMITH, Perez HATHAWAY; Richmond, Hiram PITTS, Hiram ASHLEY, Leonard B. BRIGGS; Phelps, Elias COST, Wm. DICKINSON, Spencer HILDRETH; Seneca, Abram A. POST, Charles GODFREY, George FORDON; Victor, Samuel RAWSON, Henry PARDEE, and Jared H. BOUGHTON.  Until about 1852, Hon. John GREIG was continued president, O. PHELPS and W.W. GORHAM secretaries, and J.D. BEMIS treasurer.

Fairs, to the number of thirteen, were held down in 1852.  They were mainly held in October, and were generally successful.  The citizens of Geneva desired that fairs should occasionally be held at that village, and their wishes were regarded.  This fair was held September 28 and 29, 1853, upon eight acres of ground, inclosed by the citizens, who erected tents, and provided many conveniences.  James L. MONIER, of Naples, was president; William H. LAMPORT and Henry HOWE, secretaries.  The fair was self-sustaining.  Town societies were now formed, and a union agricultural society by Phelps and Manchester held a fair at Clifton Springs, October 11, 1853, which was a splendid affair.  To centralize the interest, and render it permanent, Gideon GRANGER and John S. BATES took steps to purchase and inclose a fair-ground.  It was at a special meeting held February 21, 1854, "Resolved, That the annual exhibitions of the society be held hereafter at Canandaigua; provided, a field of not less than six acres, for the use of the society, can be purchased and paid from the proceeds of the sale of life-memberships, at ten dollars each."  The constitution was amended, and vice-presidents were increased from six to fifteen.  On May 4, a committee of five were appointed to purchase needed grounds.  This committee was composed of G. GRANGER, James S. COOLEY, John S. BATES, and H. N. JERVIS.  The selection was the present grounds.  The following were the purchases: One acre, three roods, 34 50/100 rods, of James LYON, for $593.65; three acres, 64/100 of N. GORHAM, for $728; and, in 1855-56, two acres, one hundred and thirty-five rods, of Isaac WEBSTER, for $676.75; and one acre, thirty-four rods, of Dr. Edwin CARR, for $413.76 .  Buildings, sheds, and amphitheatre were erected, and the fair is held in high repute.  Wm. HILDRETH served as president in 1854-55; Wm. JOHNSON, 1856-57; William H. LAMPORT, 1858-59; Wm. S. CLARK, 1860; Lindley W. SMITH, 1861; E. BRONSON, 1862; David PICKETT, 1863; Wm. JOHNSON, 1864; E. B. POTTLE, 1865; S.H. AINSWORTH, 1866-67; S. A. CODDING, 1868; Harvey STONE, 1869; Harvey PADELFORD, 1870-71; Cooper SAYRE, 1872; Homer CHASE, 1875; James S. HIKOK, in 1876.  The fair held in the fall of 1875 did credit to the farmers of Ontario.  Of cattle, Alderney and Durham were fully represented.  Of sheep, the names of C.E. SHEPARD, Geo. B. SACKETT, and Bronson and Monier are found as those of principal exhibitors.  Of long-wooled sheep, Cooper SAYER, Joel LANDON, W. N. PERRY, Homer CHASE, and A. STEARNS are leading raisers.  Of middle wools, A. B. COOLEY was sole exhibitor.  The entries of poultry, many and fine, speak great interest in that direction.  Horses were shown of such pedigree as indicates pride in that noble animal.  Prominently the county fair does and should occupy attention; but in Bristol, Naples, and other points, various fairs, intended to incite to effort in leading pursuits, are annually and successfully held, and no farmer of the county has any excuse for ignorance of his calling.

In 1874, a movement almost simultaneous took place all through the Republic among the farming class to unite and secure to themselves relief from exactions of transportation, co-operation in the purchase of agricultural instruments, and the advantages of sociality.  The Grangers multiplied their lodges in Ontario as well as elsewhere, and derive the same advantages.

The first grange in Ontario was constituted at a meeting of farmers of the south part of Canandaigua and South Bristol, held at the academy school-house on June 19, 1874.  A lodge known as Patrons of Husbandry was organized by George SPRAGUE of Lockport, secretary of the State Grange.  The following named officers were duly elected and installed: John B. HALL, master; Edson HASKELL, overseer; Lute C. MATHER, lecturer; John A. McJANNETH, steward; A.A. STETSON, assistant-steward; Gilbert E. HASKELL, chaplain; William W. BARNUM, treasurer; and Kelly W. GREEN, secretary.  With less occasion for formation than their brethren of the west, the Ontario farmers have been prompt to support a beneficial measure and intelligent to perceive and lay hold of obvious advantages.

The nurseries of Ontario, locally written, are likewise deserving of mention here as the seat of a large and important industry.  Geneva nursery was established by William, Thomas and Edward SMITH, in 1846.  In 1863, Edward SMITH retired from the firm to engage in growing fruit for the New York market.  He planted eighty acres in pears, plums, and apples.  In 1864, Messrs. W. and T. SMITH enlarged their business, which already extended over three hundred acres.  They built green and packing houses and constructed a root cellar.  They added one hundred and fifty acres to their nursery to supply a constant and growing demand.  From fifty to one hundred men are employed during the summer season.  From twelve to sixteen horses are kept constantly at work upon the lands.  From fifty to one hundred agents are employed in sale of goods.  Wholesaling has become a main feature of the business.  Near one hundred and fifty thousand feet of lumber are required yearly for boxes, and seventy-five tons of moss for packing roots of trees.  Five large farms have been under-drained to such an extent that were the tile placed in direct line its extent would exceed four hundred miles.  The cost has exceeded $32,000.  This under-draining is in excess of any other firm in the county.
E. A. BRONSON began business in 1867, on ten acres, and now has one hundred and fifty under cultivation.  Employs twenty-five men.  Sells in twenty States.  Atwood, Root & Co. commenced in 1870, and have two hundred acres in trees.  Thirty hands are engaged in summer.  Richardson & Nicholas, from five acres in 1870, have now one hundred and twelve in trees.

R. G. Chase & Co. have one hundred men on the road, and are heavy salesmen.  T. C. Maxwell & Bros. began in Geneva, in the spring of 1848, with six and one-half acres.  They now own one thousand acres of the best land about Geneva.  Fruit-, ornamental-, and shade-trees, in great variety and choice species, are largely grown, and the nursery business, steadily enlarging as worthy enterprise finds encouragement, has become one of the leading features of earth tillage.  It may be conclusively said, that the Ontario farmer endeavors to secure the greatest needed product with the least exhaustion to his lands, and the result has been a prosperous and diversified employment, according to soil, surface and locality.


The geology of Ontario, opposed to general impression, has a basis simple, reasonable, and full of interest to the inquiring mind.  This chapter derives its matter from papers published by Noah T. CLARKE in the Ontario Times, and but an outline of his work here finds preservation.

Ontario county is peculiar and rich in its geological character.  Lying-between the sandstone of the great lake "ridge" and the coal measures of Pennsylvania, and grounded upon the old Silurian rocks upon whose slaty leaves are written so beautifully the wonderful records of that early dawn in our earth's life, before ferns, flowers, or fruits had existence, it presents a variety of geological features unusual in so small an area.  Upon the north, and running nearly east and west, we have the "gypsum ridge," a reservoir for untold ages to fertilize our clayey and slaty soil; three or four miles south and parallel is the "limestone ridge," supplying builders with the best of mortar; then farther south we strike the slates of the Portage rocks, which form the palisades of the Canandaigua lake.

The surface of the county is strangely configured, from the downs or hummocks of Victor to the mountain ridges and parallel valleys of the southern towns.  The configuration of the surface gives the highest ridges and the deepest valleys in South Ontario.  There lie the lakes, the pools,---left by the subsidence of flowing waters.  The points on these lakes denote the contributions from the hills, destined ultimately to fill their beds with sand, gravel, and clay, and furnish sites for best of farms.

ROCK FORMATIONS -  Divest the earth of loose surface material, and it would show a comparatively smooth area of compact, stratified rock.  These strata lie in courses, such that he who travels from the southern shore of Lake Ontario, south, would pass in order Medina sandstone, Clifton group, Niagara group, Onondaga salt group, Helderberg series, Hamilton group, Tully limestone, Portage group, Chemung group, and coal measures.  The upper Silurian are included in the five first named; the remainder, save the last, belong to the Devonian.  These beds of rock have a dip southward.  Notice the rock so shelving that from Lake Ontario to the south line of Victor and Farmington, a distance of some twenty miles, one would cross the outcrop of the Silurian rocks, whose thickness in some five thousand feet.  From this last line, sixty miles to the border of Pennsylvania, one crosses the Devonian groups, which have a thickness of above twelve thousand feet.  Ontario County rests upon four of these formations.  The north half of Victor, Farmington, Manchester, and Phelps, with the east part of Phelps and the northeast part of Geneva, are upon the Onondaga salt group.  A belt of land, some three miles wide, comes down the south line of Farmington; it rests upon the Helderberg series.  A belt six miles wide, comprising East and West Bloomfield, Canandaigua, Hopewell, and portions of Gorham, Phelps, and Seneca, rests upon the Hamilton rocks, while the towns south are upon the Portage rocks.
The Onondaga salt group (named from the salt wells of that county in this rock) consists of clayey sandstones, drab-colored limestone, and gypsum, overlaid by hydraulic limestone.  In this county the group, some three miles wide, consists mostly of gypsum, which is inexhaustible in the towns mentioned.  The Helderberg series, next met, consists of thick, compact limestone strata.  The lower beds of this series, resting immediately on the Onondaga series, are known as water-lime.  The upper beds of limestone proper terminate westward with the county line.  "Gidding's" lime and the rocks forming the banks of the outlet below Chapinville are of this formation.  Here the color is a bluish-gray, while in Onondaga it is dark-gray, takes polish, and has extensive use as a building stone.  Specimens of this stone form foundation walls and steps of the court-house, and specimens of the Gidding's limestone are seen in the Episcopal church and the Congregational chapel of Canandaigua.  The Hamilton rocks, underlying the tier of towns east and west, with Canandaigua, consist of shales, flags, and other limestone beds.  Beneath the village of Canandaigua lies Hamilton limestone, varying in hue from light-blue-green to almost black, the latter indicating the presence of sulphur.  Southward are shales and slates of the group.  Upon the Hamilton lies the Genesee shale, black and to an extent bituminous.  South of the Hamilton and including the south half of the county are the Portage rocks, finely shown in the ravines and gullies of Bristol and Naples.  These rocks contain little, if any lime, and inclose occasional beds of mud.  Their thickness is from one to two thousand feet.

In northern Ontario few vegetables forms are found, and these are like marine plants.  Forms of animal life are abundant and various, all belonging to the classes of mollusks, radiates, and articulates.  Amidst the Devonian rocks are found sea-weeds, land-plants, insects, and fishes.  Vertebrate fossils distinguish these rocks from those beneath them.  Additional to fossil remains, large quantities of petrified moss are found, most abundant in Bristol, but also in other towns.  This is a petrification by lime, and becomes hard, compact, and immobile as a building stone.  It is of rich cream color, and is found in marshes upon limestone.  Along the lake shore, and especially at Seneca Point, lie abundance of "turtle stones" or petrified "Indian heads."  These are stones of segregate structure.  The mass of the stone, which is of slate, or clay and iron, is first formed.  In drying, the inner portion is cracked and filled with carbonate of lime, and at times there is a cavity in which is mineral oil.  These stones are called Septaria, from septum,---division, because the stone has a division like parts of a skull.  Some strikingly remind one of the turtle, and others bear close resemblance to a human head.  These Septaria are formed in the mountains, rounded by aqueous action, and fringe the lake shore, because their weight enables them to resist the ebb and flow of the lake.

The theory of organic remains presents five points, enumerated as follows: The entire continent was once under water, and subsequently and at different times portions of the continent became elevated above the water.  The Silurian period marks the epoch of the introduction of animal life, which was wholly of marine origin.  At the end of the Silurian there was a great change.  Many species of sea-life were destroyed.  New forms of matter were introduced, among which were notably vertebrate fishes and insects and land-plants.  No part of the United States south of central Pennsylvania, except a part of the Ohio valley and the termini of the Apalachian system, were under water at the end of the Devonian epoch, and, finally, the rocks of this county belong to the oldest of the stratified rocks of our globe, and their fossil remains represent the earliest forms of animal and vegetable life.



The history of parties from the close of the Revolution to the present time exhibits two great political organizations, based upon State and national jurisdiction, and known at different periods of changing appellations.  The Division and anti-Division parties contended for members of assembly; the Masonic and anti-Masonic fought---the one to live, the other to extirpate.  The canal project found in Ontario ardent supporters and bitter enemies.  These were all subsidiary to the two great embodiments of a State's-rights and a national control.  It began in the conflicting claims to the lands of the Genesee, and the solution of the problem is found in a healthful conservatism, a constant vigilance, and a slow gravitation to a condition of permanence.  In the arena of debate and upon the great questions of the day the representatives of old Ontario have originated and enhanced her reputation, and the mention of their names recalls their political career and their measures for the public welfare.  During the period from 1789 to 1876, Ontario has known the following political divisions and representation:


Under the first constitution of the State, Ontario was attached to the western district.  By the second, adopted in 1821, the State was divided into eight senatorial districts, each of which was entitled to four senators; and Ontario was attached to the seventh district.  The constitution of 1846 divided the State into thirty-two districts, each of which was entitled to one senator.  Under the apportionment made by the constitution, Ontario and Livingston constituted district number twenty-nine.  Under the apportionment of 1857, based upon the census of 1855, Ontario, Seneca, and Yates were joined as number twenty-six, which district still exists, never having been disturbed by subsequent apportionments.


The first division of the State of New York into congressional districts was made by the legislative "act of January 27, 1789."  The districts were not numbered, but the last one named consisted of the counties of Herkimer, Montgomery, Ontario, Otsego, Tioga, and a part of Albany.  The second division was legislated December 18, 1792, and then districts were named, not numbered; and the district last organized consisted of Herkimer, Montgomery, Onondaga, Ontario, Otsego, and Tioga.  At a third apportionment, made March 23, 1797, the districts received the numbers which they have since preserved.  At that time Ontario was assigned to the tenth district.  In 1802 she was placed in the seventeenth district; in 1808, in the fifteenth district; in 1812, in the twenty-first; in 1822, in the twenty-sixth.  For the only time in her history she formed a complete congressional district in and of herself under the apportionment of 1832, which gave to her the same number as that of which she had previously formed a part.  In 1842, Ontario was attached to the twenty-ninth district; in 1851, to the twenty-sixth, again; in 1862, to the twenty-fifth, and in 1872 to the twenty-seventh district, to which she at present belongs.


Under the first constitution the State was not judicially districted as at present, but under the provisions of the second constitution the State was divided by legislative act, passed April 17, 1823, into eight circuits, and Ontario became a part of the seventh.  By the constitution of 1846 the same arrangement was retained, save a change of name from circuit to district.  Under recent amendments to the constitution the State is formed into four general departments, which in their turn are subdivided into districts.  Ontario belongs to the seventh district of the fourth department.

A brief recital of political or civil divisions is properly followed by a roll of those who have represented the county in State and national councils.  Primarily, then, are named State officers selected from Ontario's citizens for the high honors and great responsibility of official position.

Executive Department.---Governor, Myron H. CLARK, of the village of Canandaigua, held the office of governor during the years 1855-56.

Council of Appointment.---The first constitution provided for a council of appointment, which was composed of one senator from each district, openly nominated and appointed by the assembly.  The governor was the presiding officer of the council, and had a casting vote.  The power and duties of the council are plainly indicated by its name.  The following-named senators, residents of Ontario, were duly chosen as members of this body, and served during the years indicated: Thomas MORRIS, 1797; Lemuel CHIPMAN, 1802; John NICHOLAS, 1807; Amos HALL, 1810; Philetus SWIFT, 1811, and Stephen BATES, 1819.

Secretary of State, John C. SPENCER, appointed February 4, 1839.

Comptroller, Thomas HILLHOUSE, elected November 7, 1865.

Canal Commissioners, Myron HOLLEY, appointed April 17, 1816, and William W. WRIGHT, elected November 5, 1861.

Adjutant-Generals, Levi HUBBELL and Thomas HILLHOUSE, appointed, the former June 4, 1833, the latter August 19, 1861.

Bank Commissioner, James REES, appointed February 1, 1830.

Inspector of State's Prison, Jared WILSON, appointed May 10, 1835.
State Engineer, Charles B. STEWART, elected November 2, 1847.
Regents of the University, John GREIG, appointed January 12, 1825, and William H. GOODWIN, appointed June 24, 1865.

Judiciary Department.---Judges of Court of Appeals, Samuel A. FOOTE, elected April 11, 1851, and Charles J. FOLGER, elected May 17, 1870; Justices of the Supreme Court, Henry W. TAYLOR, appointed March 27, 1850, vice Maynard, deceased; James C. SMITH, appointed May 23, 1862, vice Knox, resigned.  Mr. SMITH has held uninterrupted possession of the office up to the present time, having been twice re-elected to the position.  Puisne Justice of the Supreme Court, Jacob SUTHERLAND, appointed January 29 1823; Circuit Judge, Bowen WHITING, appointed April 7, 1844.

Constitutional Conventions.---The convention of 1801 was organized "to settle the controversy which had arisen regarding the relative powers of the governor and council of appointment respecting nominations for office."  Ontario County was represented by Moses ATWATER.  The convention of 1821 framed the second constitution of the State.  To assist in its deliberations, Ontario sent Micah BROOKS, John PRICE, David SUTHERLAND, Philetus SWIFT, and Joshua Van FLEET.  The third State constitution was framed by the convention of 1846.  To this body the delegates of this county were Robert C. NICHOLAS and Alvah WORDEN.

Once more a convention was called to frame a new constitution.  The work of this convention of 1867 was but partially approved by the people, the judiciary article alone being ratified at the polls.  Henry O. CHESEBRO, Angus McDONALD, Eldridge G. LAPHAM, and Charles J. FOLGER represented this county.

Legislative Department.---State senators.  The constitution of 1777 divided the State into four senatorial districts,---the southern, middle, eastern, and western.  These districts were varied from time to time as population increased, Ontario being always in the western district.  During the period of this constitution the county was represented in the State Assembly by the following-named senators:

Thomas MORRIS, served from 1797 to 1801; Lemuel CHIPMAN, 1801-5; John NICHOLAS, 1805-9; Amos HALL, 1809-13; Philetus SWIFT, 1813-15; Stephen BATES, 1815-16; Philetus SWIFT, 1816-17; Stephen BATES, 1817-19, and Gideon GRANGER, 1819-21.  The constitution of 1821 designated the respective senatorial districts by numbers, and that system has been retained.  Since Ontario County has ever been but a part of a senatorial district, we can but name those who, representing the district to which she belonged, were themselves citizens of the county: John C. SPENCER, 1825-28; Chester LOOMIS, 1835-38; Robert C. NICHOLAS, 1839-42; Mark H. SIBLEY, 1840-41; Albert LESTER, 1844-47; Myron H. CLARK, 1854; Wm. H. GOODMAN, 1855; Thomas HILLHOUSE, 1860-61; Charles J. FOLGER, 1862-68; Stephen H. HAMMOND, 1875.

Messrs. BATES, GRANGER, CLARK, MORRIS, LESTER and SIBLEY, were from Canandaigua;
Messrs. John and Robert C. NICHOLAS, FOLGER, GOODWIN, HILLHOUSE, and HAMMOND, were from Geneva; CHIPMAN was a resident of the town of Ontario, now in Wayne; HALL was of Palmyra, also of Wayne; LOOMIS was from Rushville, and Swift from Phelps.

Members of Assembly.---In the year 1820, John C. SPENCER was speaker of this body.  There seems to have been no member from Ontario until 1796.  Its territory was then extensive.  The assembly district until 1802 was composed of Ontario and Steuben.  Lemuel CHIPMAN served in 1797; Amos HALL, 1798-99; Nathaniel NORTON, 1800; N. NORTON and L. CHIPMAN, 1801; P.B. PORTER and Dan. CHAPIN, 1802.  Genesee and Ontario assemblymen were:  Thaddeus CHAPIN and Augustus PORTER, in 1803; Nat. M. HOWELL and Amos Hall, 1804; Amos HALL and Daniel W. LEWIS, 1805, and D.W. LEWIS, 1806.  Allegany, Genesee, and Ontario were represented in the assembly in 1807 by Philetus SWIFT and Asahel WARNER, and in 1808 by Amos HALL, A. WARNER, and Philetus SWIFT.

Under the first State constitution, surrogates were appointed for unlimited periods.  Under this system the office was filled in Ontario by the following, with date of appointment: John COOPER, May 5, 1789; Samuel MELLISH, March 22, 1792; Israel CHAPIN, Jr., March 18, 1795; Amos HALL, February 23, 1796; Dudley SALTONSTALL, January 25, 1798; Reuben HART, February 16, 1809; Eliphalet TAYLOR, February 13, 1810; Reuben HART, February 5, 1811; E. TAYLOR, March 9, 1813; R. HART, March 17, 1815; Stephen PHELPS, April 10, 1817, and Ira SELBY, March 5, 1821.  Under the second constitution the surrogate's term was four years.  The office was filled by appointment by governor and State senate.  The following-named were so appointed:

Jared WILCOX, March 31, 1823; Jared WILLSON, March 31, 1837; Orson BENJAMIN, June 29, 1840, and George R. BURBURT, April 10, 1844.  The constitution of 1846 abolished the office, except in such counties as were possessed of a population exceeding forty thousand.  In such counties as were embraced in this exception, the Legislature, at option, might authorize the election of surrogates.  When so elected, it was for a term of two years, which has since been increased to four years.  Under these provisions, Ontario did not contain sufficient population until 1851, until which time the duties of the office were filled by the county judge.  In 1851, the Legislature authorized the people of Ontario to elect a surrogate, and the right has been exercised until the present, as follows:  George WILLSON, Jr., November 2, 1851; Orson BENJAMIN, December 2, 1852; Samuel SALSBURY, February 18, 1853; John N. WHITING, November 1855; O. BENJAMIN, November, 1857; Elihu M. MORSE, appointed October 11, 1861, elected November, 1861, and re-elected November, 1865; Isaac R. PURCELL, elected 1869; Charles A. RICHARDSON was elected November, 1873, and is the present incumbent.  Nathaniel W. HOWELL was appointed assistant attorney-general of February 9, 1797.  Ontario was then part of the sixth of seven districts into which New York was divided.  The office is known as district attorney since April 4, 1801.  The number of districts was increased to thirteen as new ones were formed.  Ontario was connected with the seventh, and then the tenth district.  Two citizens of Ontario were honored by appointments to this office during the continuance of this plan.---Daniel W. LEWIS, appointed March 9, 1810, and John C. SPENCER, February 18, 1815.  On April 21, 1818, a law was passed making each county a separate district; since then the following have been appointed to 1847, and subsequently elected:
John C. SPENCER, June 11, 1818.
Abraham P. VOSBURG, March 31, 1821.
Bowen WHITING, January 1, 1823.
Henry F. PENFIELD, May 16, 1832.
George W. CLINTON, May 19, 1835 
Nathan PARKE, August 16, 1836.
Thomas M. HOWELL, May 23, 1840.
B. SLOSSON, elected June, 1847.
James C. BROWN, August 23, 1849.
Stephen R. MALLORY, October 2, 1849.
Jacob B. FAUROT, November, 1850.
Thomas O. PERKINS, November, 1855.
Edwin HICKS, appointed March 7, 1857.
Wm. H. SMITH, elected November, 1857
Edwin HICKS, November, 1863.
Frank RICE, November, 1875.

Since the organization of the county the following have served:
Nathaniel GORHAM, Jr., May 5, 1789.
John WICKHAM, March 18, 1795.
Peter B. PORTER, January 20, 1797.
Sylvester TIFFANY, July 3, 1804.
James B. MOWER, March 21, 1808.
Myron HOLLEY, February 13, 1810.
James B. MOWER, February 5, 1811.
Hugh McNAIR, March 17, 1815.
John Van FOSSEN, July 3, 1819.
Gavin L. NICHOLAS, March 5, 1821.
G.L. NICHOLAS, elected November, 1822.
Ralph LESTER, November, 1825.
Charles CRANE, November, 1831.
John D. DOX, November, 1834.
Thomas HALL, November, 1837.
Alex H. HOWELL, November, 1843.
Reuben MURRAY, Jr., November, 1849.
John J. LYON, November, 1852.
Elnathan W. SIMMONS, Nov., 1858.
Jefferson J. WHITNEY, November, 1861.
Nathan J. MILLIKEN, November, 1864.
Frederick W. PRINCE, November, 1867.
Walter MARKS, November, 1870.
W.L. HICKS, November, 1873.

The office of sheriff, probably next to county judge the most important in the county, has had the following succession:
Judah COLT, appointed April 7, 1790.
Nathaniel NORTON, June 29, 1794.
Roger SPRAGUE, June 23, 1798.
Benjamin BARTON, February 16, 1802
Stephen BATES, March 13, 1806.
James R. GUERNSEY, March 26, 1807.
Stephen BATES, February 8, 1808.
James REES, February 13, 1810.
S. BATES, February 5, 1811.
Wm. SHEPARD, February 23, 1813.
Nathaniel ALLEN, March 17, 1816.
Phineas P. BATES, February 13, 1819.
Samuel LAURENCE, March 10, 1821.
P.P. BATES, elected November, 1822.
Joseph GARLINGHOUSE, November, 1825.
Jonathan BUELL, November, 1828.
Jonas M. WHEELER, November, 1831.
J. GARLINGHOUSE, November, 1834.
Myron H. CLARK, November, 1837.
John LAMPORT, November, 1840.
E. DENSMORE, November, 1843.
Phineas KENT, November, 1846.
Wm. H. Lamport, November, 1849.
Owen EDMONSTEN, November, 1852.
Henry C. SWIFT, November, 1855.
Wm. HILDRETH, November, 1858.
Harlow MUNSON, November, 1861.
John WHITWELL, November, 1864.
Wm. W. CLARKE, November, 1867.
Darwin CHENEY, November, 1870.
Nathaniel R. BOSWELL, November 1873.

The office was created by the constitution of 1846, is elective, and was filled for the terms indicated by Henry K. SANGER, 1848; Ralph CHAPIN, 1851, Wm. H. PHELPS, 1854; Jacob J. MATTESON, 1855; Spencer GOODING, 1858; Charles A. RICHARDSON, 1864; George N. WILLIAMS, 1870.

Thomas OTTLEY, Edward P. PARRISH, and Edward HERENDEEN were elected in November, 1848.  OTTLEY was re-elected 1849 and 1852, and Herendeen 1850 and 1853; George RICE was elected 1851, 1854; John Q. GROESBECK, 1855; John LAPHAM, 1856; Simeon R. WHEELER, 1857, 1860, 1863, 1866, 1869, and 1872; Jonathan PRATT, 1858; Daniel ARNOLD, 1859; Ambrose L. Van DUSEN, 1861, 1864, 1867, and 1870; Leeman P. MILLER, 1863, 1866, 1868; John H. BENHAM, 1871, 1874; Warren B. WITTER, 1873, and Charles E. SHEPARD, 1875.

This office finds records in the county archives in 1857; prior to that date, the duties were filled by town commissioners.  Under the present system, each assembly district elects a school commissioner for a term of three years.  In the first assembly district, Luther B. ANTISDALE was elected in 1857, and re-elected in 1860.  He was succeeded by Jacob A. WADER, who was elected in 1863, and re-elected in 1866; Ezra J. PECK was elected in 1869; Hyland C. KIRK in 1872, and George V. CHAPIN in 1875.  In the second assembly district, William M. McLAUGHLIN was elected in 1857.  Before the expiration of official term, he removed from the county, and David E. WILSON was elected to fill the vacancy in 1859, and re-elected for a full term in 1860; Gilbert W. SUTPHEN was elected in 1863, and Henry J. WEMETT in 1866, Robert B. SIMMONS in 1869 and 1872, and Lucius L. PIERCE, the present officer, in 1875.

The office was established in 1837.  It was filled by appointments made by the governor, and confirmed by the senate.  The present incumbents are Messrs. A. L. DEWEY and Henry PADELFORD.  The following have filled the office: James BOGART, Oliver CASE, Ralph CHAPIN, Nathaniel K. COLE, Lyman CUMMINGS, Waldo CURTISS, Albert L. DEWEY, Jedediah DEWEY, Jr., Bolivar ELLIS, Scott HICKS, Edgar H. HURD, John LAPHAM, Peter MITCHELL, John MOSHER, Reuben J. MURRAY, George N. REED, and Stephen SAXTON.

The office was created in 1846, and the following have been its incumbents to the present:
Elkanah ANDREWS, 1870-71.
Levi C. AYLWORTH, 1854.
John H. BENHAM, 1869.
Robert CHAPIN, 1862.
Lyman CLARK, 1853, '54, 1871.
E.W. CLEVELAND, 1849-50.
D. L. COVILL, 1870.
Justus H. DAWLEY, 1857.
John C. DOX, 1864-65.
B. ELLIS, 1863-67.
C. J. FOLGER, 1849-50.
J. N. GRANGER, 1847-52.
D. R. HAWKS, 1858.
Benj. HICKS, 1872.
A. J. JONES, 1855.
Wm. H. WARFIELD, 1872-73.
Isaac R. PARCELL, 1862.
Ira PARKS, 1868.
John W. PARKER, 1874-75.
James PARMELEE, 1869.
Ezra Pierce, 1859-60.
Josiah PORTER, 1847.
Jas. M. PULVER, 1855, '56, 1873.
Hiram SHUTT, 1861.
Wm. LEAVY, 1860.
Richmond SIMMONDS, 1865-67.
S.W. SMITH, 1851-52.
John P. SPEAR, 1874-75.
Geo. W. STEARNS, 1856, '57, 1859, 1861.
Henry C. SWIFT, 1851.
S. H. TORREY, 1858.
Ulysses WARNER, 1853, 1863, '64, 1866, 1868.

The official term is three years.  Our record is complete from 1843.  Jedediah DEWEY, 1843, 1846, 1847, 1850, 1853; Robert ROYCE, 1844, 1847, 1850, and 1853; Imly PRESCOTT, 1845; Harvey Jewett, 1845 and 1851; John Q. HOWE, 1848, 1856, and 1859; William BALL and Buell H. BARTLETT, 1854; Hiram A. POTTER, 1853; R.R. GREGG, 1856; Amos CRANDALL, 1857; D. F. WEBSTER and Anson WHEELER, 1857 and 1860; Carlton H. WOOD, 1859, 1866, and 1872; Aaron YOUNG, 1848, 1851, 1854, 1861, and 1863; John F. ROGERS, 1862, 1865; Hiram JENNINGS and John N. DOX, 1862; Daniel DURGAN and Marcus PERKINS, 1863; Hiram N. EASTMAN, James A. HAWLEY, and J. W. PALMER, 1866; J. B. HAYES, 1869 and 1872; Henry K. CLARK, James F. DRAPER, and Albert J. CRITTENDEN, 1869; N. BRYANT, 1872; Nelson B. COVERT, 1872 and 1875; John A. SHANNON and Wm. R. TOWNSEND, 1875.

THE INSTITUTION OF SLAVERY,  which for many years had been but a synonym for party strife, was short-lived in New York, and the owners soon gave their attention to freeing themselves from an incumbrance from which there was no profit.  All that relates to servitude is become history.  It is curious now to read that Dudley SALTONSTALL offered ten dollars reward "for the return of a mulatto slave girl, named Judith, commonly called Jude, who disguised herself in male apparel and ran away from him."  Of a "negro slave named Lindy Moody, aged eighteen, ran away from D. B. FERGUSON, in Phelps," and a reward of fifteen dollars was offered for her capture.  Looking upon the barbarism as remote and but recently extinct, it seems novel to read from a newspaper of the olden day "For Sale.--A negro wench with a child one year old.  She is healthy, and capable of doing all kinds of housework.  Enquire at this office, May 28, 1810."  And again, "A negro girl about fifteen years old for sale.  Enquire of the printer, March 3, 1814."  In the town records of Canandaigua is found the following in relation to slaves:  "Sally, a female child, born of Lin, a negro woman, slave to John CLARK, October 10, 1807, recorded 3d March, 1808.  Eliphalet SAYLOR, Town Clerk."  John C. SPENCER recorded his ownership and right to a female child named Sylvia, born of his slave Phoebe, on September 27, 1811; and, on June 3, 1812, a male child named William was born of Vin, the property of Freeman ATWATER.  His name was received for record April 28, 1813, by Abner BUNNELL, town clerk.  Phoebe, a colored woman, was a slave to Daniel DORSEY; her children were chattels of her master, though her husband, James Colbert, was free.  Lloyd COLBERT, born in 1784, was sold, December 7, 1812, to Nathaniel W. HOWELL.  The following relic is of interest in this connection:

"We, Phineas BATES and Ambrose PHELPS, overseers of the poor of the town of Canandaigua, County of Ontario, State of New York, do certify that a negro man-slave, named Lloyd COLBERT, commonly called Lloyd, now owned by Nathaniel W. HOWELL, who resides in the said town, appears to be under the age of forty-five years, and of sufficient ability to provide for himself.  Given under our hands, at Canandaigua, October 18, 1814.
"Phineas BATES,
"Ambrose PHELPS.
Witness, Walter HUBBELL."

By the 3d section of the act entitled, "An act concerning slaves and servants," 2d Vol. page 202, Revised Laws, it was the overseer's duty to give such certificate as the above.  There was no contest upon this subject of slavery in this State, where involuntary servitude was not remunerative; accordingly, we find a law passed March 31, 1817, for the final and total abolition of slavery in the State, and declared to take place July 4, 1827.  All negroes, mulattoes, and mustees within the State, born before that date, were to be free, and all of the same classes born after July 4, 1799, were to be free--males at the age of twenty-three, and females at the age of twenty-five years.

Ontario, prior to 1875, has been known as a Republican county.  The county is very nearly equally divided upon the questions of the day, and the strength of the two great parties is fairly exhibited by the official canvass of 1875 for secretary of state.  In the general election held in Ontario, November 2, 1875, John BIGELOW, Democrat, received four thousand five hundred and ninety-nine votes; Frederick W. SEWARD, Republican, four thousand five hundred and seventy-four votes, and G. B. DUSINBERRE, Prohibition candidate, three hundred and ninety-eight votes, from a total of nine thousand five hundred and seventy-one votes polled.

The following tabular statement, given on recurring decades, indicates the progress of the county in that regard.  In July, 1790, the census of the county of Ontario, then embracing the entire Genesee country, was taken by General Amos HALL, and there were found 205 families and 1081 persons, of whom 98 families and 451 persons were settled within its present limits.  The population in 1800 of present towns was 8466; in 1810, 22,088; in 1820, 35,292; in 1830, 40,288; in 1840, 43,501; in 1850, 43,929; in 1860, 44,563; in 1870, 45,108, and by the census of 1875, 48,031.  The population of towns at intervals is thus given:


































East Bloomfield
























Geneva (in Seneca)
















































Seneca (includes Geneva)








South Bristol
















West Bloomfield








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