Town of Hopewell History
History of Ontario Co, NY
Pub 1878 pg 159 - 160
Kindly transcribed by Deborah Spencer
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TOWN OF HOPEWELL
In recording “passing incidents” in this
town, the writer finds nothing of a startling nature.
Her people have been quiet, industrious, and progressive, whose forward
movements were steady and firm as:
eternal step of progress beats
the great anthem, calm and slow,
They have transformed the wilderness to one
of the finest and most productive tracts found within the boundaries of the
Phelps and Gorham purchase.
Hopewell originally comprised a portion of
the old town of Gorham, which was organized when Ontario was set off from
Montgomery, January 27, 1789. March
29, 1822, it was erected from Gorham, and is bounded as follows:--north by
Manchester, east by Phelps and Seneca, south by Gorham, and west by Canandaigua.
The fertility of the soil and the fine
water-power afforded by this section attracted the attention of explorers, and
as early as 1789 we find that the tide of civilization had set in, and but a few
years elapsed ere the territory embraced within the present town of Hopewell was
dotted here and there by the homes of sturdy pioneers, who have left an honored
memory and a respected posterity. Many
of the pioneers of this town came from the State of Maryland, and prominent
among them was Richard JONES, father of Hon. Amos JONES.
The latter was born in Montgomery county, Maryland, in the year 1793, and
emigrated to this place with his father in 1805.
January 1, 1816, he settled on the east part of lot 26, where he now
resides, at the advanced age of 83, though smart and active, and in full
possession of his faculties. He has
seven children living,--Andrew J. and Amos, Jr., residing in the town; Senator
John H. JONES, residing in Branch county, Michigan; Elizabeth, the wife of John
COST, living in Phelps; Rebecca, widow of Lewis CHAPMAN; Susan, wife of J. J.
WHITNEY; and Eva, wife of Joel A. HILL. Mr.
JONES has been one of the most eminent men in the town, and has served in many
official capacities. He was an
early justice of the peace, and served for a period of 30 years.
He was judge of the Court of Common Pleas, supervisor of the town 20
years, and represented Ontario County in the Legislature for two terms.
His father was a soldier in the Revolutionary struggle, and a
commissioned officer in the war of 1812.
Nathaniel LEWIS, a prominent citizen,
pioneer justice of the peace and postmaster, was an early settler on lot 72, on
premises now owned by a son, John LEWIS. Elam SMITH early settled on lot 70, and lot 68 was settled by
Vimri DENSMORE and a Mr. THOMAS. A
Maryland family, named DERR, were pioneers in the eastern part of the town, on
lands now owned by Mr. ESTY. George
LEVERE, also from Maryland, was the proprietor of lot 62, and lived thereon
until his death, which occurred in about the year 1850.
W. BUCHAN occupies a portion of the premises originally settled by his
father, Robert BUCHAN.
Conspicuous among the pioneers in this
locality was John PRICE, who located on lot 59, and cleared that portion of the
lot now owned by W. A. REED. Mr. PRICE was a prominent magistrate, and many years
officiated an associate justice of the Court of Common Pleas of this county, and
was on the bench with Hon. Nathaniel W. HOWELL.
A grandson of Mr. PRICE, Chauncey SPEARS, Esq., is the present keeper of
the county poor-house. A
Marylander, named Daniel LEVERE, was the original proprietor of lot 61, a
portion of which is now occupied by S. J. CARLOUGH.
Mr. SPANGLE came from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, in 1811, and located on
lot 63, subsequently owned by his son-in-law, Mr. WILTS, and Zachariah SPANGLE.
We record the name of another native of “Maryland, my Maryland,” John
FRESHORN, who was an esteemed pioneer, locating in the eastern portion of the
town, and a son, W. J. FRESHORN, resides on lot 65.
Israel THATCHER, a sturdy son of New England, a native of the “Bay
State,” was a pioneer of Hopewell, locating a house on lot 67, on the premises
now owned by a son, Elisha THATCHER. John
THATCHER was also an early settler on this lot.
Elam SMITH early located on lot 69, and one SKINNER on lot 71.
Prominent among those who bade adieu to the
conveniences and civilization of Massachusetts, for a home in the then western
wilderness, was Major Elijah MURRAY, (a soldier of the Revolution), who
emigrated from Pittsfield to this town, and located on lot 48, in the year 1798.
Two children of his are still living; a son, in Iowa, and a daughter, the
wife of David W. BEACH, who resides on lot 40, a short distance south of
Hopewell Centre. Elijah ELLIS, also
from Massachusetts, was a pioneer on lot 44, and owned the premises now occupied
by a grandson, A. S. CHILDS. John
RUSSELL, from Massachusetts, purchased and settled on lot 44, in the year 1800;
on this lot is located Hopewell
Station, on the Northern Central Railroad.
Stephen THATCHER, brother of Israel, also early located on this lot, and
has two daughters residing in the town, and one in Chicago. Lot 42 was owned by William, son of Major MURRAY.
Connecticut, as well as Massachusetts, was
also represented here by those who had turned their backs upon the “land of
steady habits,” determined to carve out for themselves a home in the fertile
land of the Senecas. David
W. BEACH was born in Connecticut, in 1796, and settled on lot 42, Hopewell, in
1819. He now resides on lot 40, at
the advanced age of 80 years. He
has three daughters residing in the town, viz:
Lucy Ann, wife of Hiram DEPEW; Lavina, wife of James W. CASE, and Edna,
wife of James L. CONE. Lot 40 was
settled by William BODMAN, in about 1798. Lot
38 was settled by Erastus LEONARD, Mr. CLEVELAND, Luther PORTER, and Robie PENN.
Premises now owned by H. FOSKET on lot 36, was originally settled by
Samuel S. BUSH; and one KNAPP located on lands now owned by D. MANIX.
David KNAPP was an estimable pioneer of the town, and located on premises
now occupied by a son, Jared KNAPP. A
Mr. MARKS early settled in this town, and a son, Walter MARKS, a prominent
citizen and ex-county clerk, now resides on lot 29.
Lot 39 was settled by Joshua CASE, and Messrs. PURDY and KETCHUM.
A brother of Joshua CASE was the pioneer on lot 41, on premises now owned
by David F. CASE. Oliver BABCOCK
located on lot 43, in about the year 1811, and is still living, at the advanced
age of 84 years. Wm. BABCOCK was
also a pioneer on this lot. Pioneers
on lot 10 were Mr. SLY and John RICKER, the former occupying the premises now
owned by W. STODDARD, and the latter by the WILSON family.
Amos KNAPP early located on lot 12, and Silas BENHAM and C. P. BUSH on
lot 14. Mr. BRUNDAGE, from
Pennsylvania, was the proprietor of lots 16 and 18, and a Mr. MILES of lot 20.
A worthy pioneer from the “Green Mountain
State” was Daniel GATES, who, with a family of four children, emigrated from
Vermont in 1798, and located on lot 22. A
venerable son, Mr. Joseph B. GATES, resides on the old homestead, where he was
born April 28, 1802. He has five
children living, viz: Elisha L. and Mary M., residing in the town; Daniel N., in
Minnesota; J. SPENCER, in Illinois, and John C., in Iowa.
Daniel WARREN, Shubeal CLARK, and Daniel GATES, Jr., were early settlers
on this lot. Pioneers on lot 47
were Frederick FOLLETT, Benj. WELLS, and John HART; a Mr. FAUROT and George
CHAPIN on lot 23, and John FAUROT and Russell WARREN on lot 17.
Lot 15 was settled by Derrick COURSEN, on premises now owned by Mr.
CASSORT. Robert DAVIDSON was also
an early settler on this lot, where Reuben SUTHERLAND now resides.
J. DEPUE now occupies lands originally settled by his father, Moses DEPUE.
Lot 11 was early settled by John GREGG and James MOORE; the latter was
the keeper of an inn. James
BIRDSEYE was an early settler on lot 48, on premises now owned by his heirs.
Another worthy pioneer was Edward ROOT, who
settled on lot 49 in about the year 1800. He
long since passed away, leaving two estimable sons now residents of the
west,--Rowland, residing in Cold Water, Michigan, and Hon. John M. ROOT, in
Sandusky, Ohio. The latter has represented his district in Congress, and is a
leading attorney of the city. The
premises occupied by Mr. ROOT in this town are now owned by Thomas C. JONES, who
is over 80 years of age. In
1804 died one of the pioneers of this town, Ezekiel CRANE, who settled on lot 5.
The northern portion of lot 26, where now are located many fine farms,
was purchased in about the year 1800, by a Mr. BISHOP, for the insignificant sum
of 75 cents per acre. David ALDRICH
and John McCAULEY also early located on this lot, on lands now owned by Andrew
J. JONES, Esq., and John CURRAN. Amos
JAMES and Amasa GILLETT were the original proprietors and settlers of lot 28. A New Englander, named Joseph LEE, settled on lot 30 prior to
1805; one PEMBROKE and a Mr. YORK were also early settlers on this lot.
Prominent among the sons of Massachusetts that secured a home in this
region was that honored pioneer, Oliver WARNER, who was the first settler in the
wilds of No. 32. Mr. WARNER was a
prominent citizen, and every way well adapted to encounter the trials incident
to the settlement of a new country. He
met a melancholy fate, being struck by lightning and instantly killed.
Two sons reside in the town,--Daniel D. TOMPKINS and Milton.
Industries in those early days were forwarded as far as the limited means
of the pioneers would permit. John
P. HENRY, an active citizen, erected the first tannery in the town, now operated
by his son, Nelson P. HENRY. Pioneers
on lot 25 were Elam CRANE, Ezra and Leonard KNAPP.
Leonard H. and Franklin, sons of Leonard, and grandsons of Ezra, reside
in the town. Early settlers on lot
27 were Mr. WOODIN and Thaddeus BENHAM. Dennis
CHAPMAN was an early and prominent settler on lot 29, on premises now owned by
the widow of Lewis CHAPMAN, a son, who met a sad death, being killed by a kick
from a horse in the spring of 1876. His
death fell heavily upon a large circle of relative and friends, who deeply
mourned the loss of this estimable citizen.
a divinity that shapes our ends,
them as we will.”
The first fulling-mill in this town, and
perhaps in the county, was erected by Elisha HIGBY, the pioneer on lot 6.
He was a highly-esteemed citizen, and an early magistrate; a daughter,
wife of Evander SLY, resides in Canandaigua.
William CANFIELD was an early settler on lot 6, on lands now occupied by
H. P. DARLING. Andrew M. BUSH also
early located on premises now owned by Michael FRANCISCO.
Many will remember that earnest gospel teacher of the Baptist faith,
Elder Anson SHAY, who was a pioneer on lot 3.
John KELLOGG early located on lot 1.
One KNICKABACKER was the pioneer on lot 8, and lot 6 was owned by Captain
CHAPIN. Mr. BRUNDAGE, a prominent
pioneer, was the proprietor of lots 16 and 18; a grandson, George BRUNDAGE, now
resides on the latter. On this lot
is located the county poor-house. Lot
50, in the northeast corner of the town, was first settled by Thomas EDMANSON
and Daniel MACUBER.
Captain Thomas DAVIS, an officer in the
militia, early selected a home in this town, locating on lot 52.
Lot 54 was purchased by Rufus WARNER, who was the pioneer on lot 56, on
premises now owned by Henry SHECKELL, son of Richard H. SHECKELL, Esq.
One of the first settlers in the town, a native of New England, was
Apollos BAKER, a worthy pioneer, who located on lot 55 in about the year 1800.
A son, Miles, a venerable and highly-esteemed citizen, resides on the lot
settled by his father, and celebrated his “golden wedding” in 1875.
This anniversary was a pleasant episode in the lives of this honored
couple, and will long be remembered by those who participated in its
festivities. It is related of Mrs.
BAKER, mother of Miles, that, in an early day, she was attending to her washing
down by the brook, some distance from the log dwelling, and Miles, then a babe,
was placed in a sap-trough, which served as a cradle. His mother having occasion to return to the house, thought to
leave the little one, as she would be absent but a moment; but something seemed
to warn her against this course, and she carried the little one to the dwelling;
and what was her consternation, upon returning to the place a few minutes after,
at finding a huge bear prowling about the place where so short a time before the
little youngster lay prattling in his sap-trough cradle!
Mr. BAKER has five sons and three daughters living.
John CHURCH was a pioneer on premises where now is located the pleasant
home of R. H. SHECKELL, Esq. Mr.
SHECKELL is a prominent citizen, whose parents were pioneers in another portion
of the county. He has four children
living, viz: Cornelia, wife of
Edward OSGOOD, Esq., residing in the village of Canandaigua; Hattie, wife of
John HUKE; Henry and Clara, who reside in this town.
The lot now occupied by D. D. T. WARNER was first settled by Jonas
WHITNEY, and lot 55 by a Mr. SPEAR, who died in 1804.
Constant BALCOM was also an early settler on this lot, on premises now
owned by a son, Espenetas. Asel
BALCOM, a brother of Constant, was a pioneer on lands now owned by J. W. ARCHER.
Eben BENHAM was an early settler on lot 35, on premises now owned and
occupied by John H. BENHAM, Esq., the present superintendent of the poor of this
county. Eben BENHAM, a preacher of
the Methodist faith, settled on this lot, on lands now owned by A. J. HANNA; Eli
BENHAM, a brother, was also a pioneer on this lot.
A New Englander, named Ezra NEWTON, early located on lot 37, where John
NEWTON now resides.
EARLY SCHOOLS AND TEACHERS
Among the early educational instructors were
Abel TRACY, Electa MURRY, and Nathaniel LEWIS.
The latter taught in a rude structure that stood on the turnpike near the
site now occupied by the residence of E. A. CHILDS.
The pioneer school-house in the north part of the town was erected on the
northeast corner of lot 26, and the first teacher in this building was Walter
FITZGERALD. Abel HOUSE and Mr. THURBER are also mentioned as early
There are four small hamlets in this town:
Chapinville, Hopewell Centre, Littleville, and Hall’s Corners.
Chapinville is a station on the Auburn branch of the New
York Central Railroad. Captain
Israel CHAPIN was a large landholder in this part of the town, and erected the
first grist-mill at Chapinville, and from him the town derived its name.
A daughter of Captain CHAPIN, Mrs. John GREIG, resides in Canandaigua.
Hopewell Centre, in 1819, contained two hotels, one
blacksmith shop, a tailor shop, and about half a dozen dwellings.
Early innkeepers were Silas ANSON and a Mr. FREDERICK.
One WOODRUFF was the pioneer blacksmith.
This village is a pleasant little hamlet of about 90 inhabitants, and
contains two churches, one store, and a blacksmith and cooper shop.
The first grist-mill and saw-mill at Littleville was built
by Oliver PHELPS, and in about the year 1800 was owned and operated by Edward
PARKER. Littleville and Hall’s
Corners are small hamlets.
By an act of the Legislature, passed March
22, 1822, all that portion of the town of Gorham, comprising No.10 in the second
range of towns in the county of Ontario, was erected into a separate town, by
the name of Hopewell, and on the 9th of April following, a certified
copy of the said act was presented to the town clerk of Gorham, who thereupon
gave notice for a special town meeting, to be held in and for said town of
Hopewell, at Murray’s inn, on the 17th day of April, 1822.
In pursuance of the above notice, the freeholders and inhabitants
assembled at Murray’s inn on the said day, April 17, 1822, and made choice of
the following town officials: Nathaniel LEWIS, supervisor; John PRICE, town
clerk; Elisha HIGBY, George BRUNDAGE, James BIRSEYE, assessors; Joel S. HART,
Erastus LARNARD, William CANFIELD, commissioners of highways; Rufus WARNER,
Lemuel BABCOCK, overseers of the poor; William BUCHAN, Jason ANGEL, Joshua CASE,
commissioners of common schools; Joseph MERRILL, William BODMAN, Joel AMSDEN,
inspectors of common schools; Timothy DUNHAM, Hiram DILLON, William LARNARD,
Joseph PARKER, constables; Walter WELLS, collector; Derrick CORSON, Joel S.
HART, Henry SPANGLE, Andrew DIXON, Samuel WILBUR, Samuel S. BUSH, Asa SHAY,
Leonard KNAPP, P. HUBBARD, Ezekiel ELDRIDGE, William ALLISON, Henry FAUROT,
William NEFUS, James BIRDSEYE, Amasa GILLETT, Morris SUTHERLAND, overseers of
the poor. The first justices of the
peace were John PRICE, Nathaniel LEWIS, Amos JONES, Elisha HIGBY.
The present town officers are as follows: Clinton WATKINS, supervisor; Charles H. EDWARDS, town clerk; Barzel BENHAM, justice of the peace; Austin S. CHILDS, assessor; Selah PEABODY, Thomas L. BUSHFIELD, commissioners of highways; Edwin PALMER, collector; James WADSWORTH, James ACKLES, William WOOD, Spencer BENHAM, constables; H. E. WOODRUFF, Darwin McCLURE, inspectors of elections; Charles ARNOLD, game constable; G. L. ARCHER, excise commissioner; E. A. CHILDS, G. R. HENRY, town auditors.
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