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transcribed by Deborah
History of Ontario County, NY
Published 1878 Pg
47 - 54
AGRICULTURE: GRAINS, STOCK, BUILDINGS, AND FARM
STATISTICS---FAIRS---AGRICULTURAL SOCIETY---PATRONS OF
"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
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 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
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
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
On October 18, 1819, a cattle-show, an exhibition of manufactureres, 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
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
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. Wholesaleing 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
underdrained 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 underdraining is in excess of any other firm in the
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.
GEOLOGY OF ONTARIO COUNTY
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
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
FOSSIL CHARACTERISTICS OF OUR ROCKS.
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 strinkingly 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
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
POLITICAL HISTORY OF ONTARIO---HER OFFICIALS, POPULATION, AND POPULAR
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:
STATE SENATORIAL DISTRICTS
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
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
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
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 distrtict. During the period of this constitution the
county was represented in the State Assembly by the following-named
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
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
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
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.
SUPERINTENDENTS OF THE POOR.
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.
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.
JUSTICE OF SESSIONS.
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.
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:
Geneva (in Seneca)
Seneca (includes Geneva)
Created by Dianne Thomas
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