Town of Manchester History 

History of Ontario Co, NY       

Pub 1878    pg  176 - 179  

 

Transcribed by Dianne Thomas

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TOWN OF MANCHESTER

Oft did the harvest to the sickle yield; 

Their furrow oft the stubborn glebe had broke; 

How jocund did they drive their team afield;

How bowed the woods beneath their sturdy stroke! - GRAY

In the fall of 1788 a road was constructed to Canandaigua from a landing place in what is the town of Manchester, on the outlet, near where Dr. STAFFORD's mill now stands.  It was the second road under-brushed upon the purchase, and the highway of emigration.  Party after party debarked at the landing and moved on to other points and it was not until 1793 that the first settlers made their entry upon this field.  The track was known as town 12, range 2, and was part of the original Farmington.  It contains twenty-three thousand and forty acres of well-timbered land, whose price in real value was but $460.80.  The present aggregated valuation is $ 1,121,825 and it has a population of 4,187 souls.  Seventeen school-houses and nine churches give indication of educational and religious development.  One now looks upon a ton wherein are seven villages, railway facilities, manufactures, and a famed sanitarium, where, eighty three years ago Joel (s/b Joab) GILLET, Stephen PHELPS, and Joel JARED made the first settlement in the midst of a wild land, forest hidden, and tenanted by beast and savage.  Of these three men, Joel JARED made but brief sojourn.  Stephen PHELPS took up a tract, of which a portion constitutes the farm now owned by Ezra PIERCE, Esq.  He too, remained  not long, but selling to Nathan PIERCE, went to Palmyra and opened the second tavern there, and finally, in 1820, removed to Illinois;  and Joel GILLET came to stay.  He is recognized as the first resident pioneer of Manchester.  He contracted for the north half of lot 19, and received his deed June 23, 1796.  This pioneer farm is thus located: commencing in the village of Manchester, at the corner store occupied at this date by Wilson and Allen, it extended west to the Farmington line, and south to the south line of the cemetery.  On this land, in the summer of 1793, GILLET built the first dwelling erected in the town; it stood near the cemetery and gave shelter to father, mother and eight children, three sons, John, Asa and Asel; five daughters, Sarah, Ziba, Lydia, Ruth and Anna.  True to the principles of industrious self-reliance, but a year or so went by ere Mr. GILLET had erected a loom to weave the cloth they needed to wear. 

Sharon BOOTH, aged nineteen, set out in the winter of 1790, with dog and gun, and came on foot to Utica.  He was there joined by one BISHOP, who accompanied him to Canandaigua, where he arrived in March.  He found work up the lake, at five dollars and fifty cents per month, with Gamaleil WILDER for a time; then, returning to Canandaigua, engaged in teaming until March 1794, and assisted in hauling the timbers for the first courthouse.  He purchased and built a house upon the north half of lot 23, township 12.  On the 7th of August, following he was married, at the residence of the bride, to Ruth, daughter of Joel GILLET; and this was the first wedding in Manchester.  Two others besides Mr. BOOTH settled in the town during 1794 - Ambrose PHELPS, who located on the south half of lot 23 and married Lydia GILLET, and Deacon John MC LOUTH , whose dwelling was erected upon the site of the old WALKER house on the north half of No. 21.  The deed for his farm was received August 1, 1796.  It is affirmed that his was the first framed barn built on the line of the Canandaigua and Palmyra road.  This barn was used as a church, and Elder SHAY was the preacher.  MC LOUTH is entitled to the distinction of having built the first cider mill in the town; it was an old-time wheel-mill and, if existing today, would be a curiosity worth seeing.

In 1795, Nathan PIERCE and family, accompanied by the family of MC LOUTH, his brother in law, came into the town.  PIERCE bought of Stephen PHELPS by contract, an undivided half of lot 15, and later purchased of Oliver PHELPS the other half-lot.  His log cabin, without door, gable end or window, when completed, occupied the site of Ezra PIERCE's residence. 

Another settler of 1795 was Joshua VAN FLEET, from Pennsylvania.  He bought out Ambrose PHELPS, who removed to No. 9.  On March 25 of the years in question, Dorris BOOTH, daughter of Sharon and Ruth, was born, the first white child born in Manchester.  Thomas SAWYER and family set out, during the winter of 1795 from Rutland, Vermont, for Ontario County.  They had a span of horses and yoke of oxen, and with these arrived in March, and built, at Littleville, a small frame house, north of the town line, east of Patrick O"BRIEN's.  An elder son, Hooker SAWYER, located on one hundred acres, now part of the farm of Schuyler SAWYER.  He also built himself a frame house.  These two were the first frame houses erected in town.  Upon his land, Hooker put up a small shop, wherein he kept farm implements in repair, and this was the initial movement in mechanical industry in the town.  From apples, given by a squaw, seeds were taken and planted and the trees which sprang there from, and which still yield fruit, constituted the first apple orchard in Manchester.  A year from his arrival in the town, on March 12, 1796, Thomas SAWYER died.  His funeral was the first, and his remains were buried in the old cemetery north of the residence of Oliver ROYCE, in the town of Hopewell.  In 1802, Joseph HOOKER, a son, married, Desire ROOT, who had come west in 1798.  In 1796, Luke PHELPS came to the settlement and located land; but clearing was not his trade, and the howls of wolves, terrifying to others, were musical to him, and the wolf-hunter was only happy when in pursuit of those cowardly depredators upon the early sheep-folds.  

Another settler of 1796 was Bezaliel GLEASON, whose log house was built on lot 37, near the house until recently the residence of Hiram and William ALDRICH.  It has been stated that Manchester was a part of Farmington, and in 1797 Farmington was known as a district. 

The first election in the untied town was held April 4, 1797, at the house of Nathan ALDRICH, and was superintended by Phineas BATES.  Nathan PIERCE was chosen a road commissioner, John MCLOUTH, assessor, and Sharon BOOTH, collector.  Joshua VAN FLEET was elected a member of the "school committee", and Joab GILLET became pound-master.  Closely following the earliest settlement came the first religious meeting.  On November 24, 1796, person of the Baptist denomination met at the house of John MC LOUTH, and agreeing thereto, sent an invitation to Elder David IRISH, of Scipio, to pay them a visit.  On January 14, 1797, Elder IRISH, accompanied by Timothy BAKER and Asa CASWELL  came from  Scipio and Aurelius.  A council met February 11, in which Elder IRISH was moderator, and John MC LOUTH, clerk.    Two days later, fellowship was accorded by delegates form the two places named, and the First Baptist Church of Farmington was organized.  The name does not indicate the locality, as all the church edifices were erected within the present limits of Manchester.  When the town was divided the church changed its name, and became known thereafter as "The First Baptist Church of Manchester".  This society was not only the first church formed in the town, but was the first Baptist church which was ever formed or organized in New York west of Cayuga lake.  So far as learned, the first arrival in the settlement during 1797 was Benjamin BARNEY and family, from New Jersey.  He came on during the summer, took up a farm of seventy-seven acres, and built a cabin upon the site of Wm BEMENT's house.  Returning east in the fall he moved on during the winter, and when ninety years of age, left Manchester to pass his remaining days with a son who had removed to Genesee county.  A man named Jacob RICE had come into the town with Nathan PIERCE in 1795.  Later he contracted land crossed by the outlet at the site of Rice's sawmill.  He erected his first house opposite the residence of Dr. WARN, and later caused a sawmill to be built on the banks of the stream.  His son, Myron RICE, lived on the old homestead, in a dwelling upon the south side of the outlet.  In 1798, Isaac LAPAHM and Jedediah DEWEY came to the town; the former was from Massachusetts, the latter from Suffield, Connecticut.  LAPHAM, in company with a man named MC FARLAND, made the journey on horseback.  The located and bought one thousand acres; each contracted for five hundred acres, at four dollars per acre.  The land lay along the banks of the outlet, northward, in extent beyond the William SHORT road.  The Genesee fever attacked MC FARLAND, and in the fall he returned to New England and exchanged with Gilbert HOWLAND for a farm of fifty acres.   PHELPS and GORHAM deeded the land located by Isaac LAPHAM to his father, David LAPHAM, a resident of Adams, Massachusetts.  The deed bears date November 13, 1798, and conveys lands contiguous and extending from the Manchester Centre and Port Gibson road westward.  On June 18, 1801, these lands were conveyed from father to son.  Mr. LAPHAM made improvements and sowed his first wheat in the fall of 1798.  Besides a spring west of the dwelling of William SHORT stands a willow tree, sprung from a slip brought by Mr. LAPHAM from his Bay State home.  The family numbered eight children, six boys, two girls.  Epiphrea lives north of Manchester Centre, at the four corners, upon part of the homestead; Jared is in Michigan, Isaac in Delaware, Spencer in Palmyra, New York; Lucinda, wife of George SMITH, of Palmyra; and Marietta, wife of Hinckley FAY, of Farmington.  Jedediah DEWEY left home in June 1798, and fell in with the family of Benjamin BURNEY, then seeking a new home.  The lake was crossed upon a scow, and the journey continued in company with his new friends.  DEWEY located land west of BURNEY, with whom he lived pending the erection of his house, which stood upon the site of Jedediah DEWEY's residence.  At four dollars per acres his farm cost him five hundred and twelve dollars.  His house built, he cleared a patch of ground and sowed two acres in wheat.  DEWEY then went to Connecticut, married Anna BEMENT in November, and with ox-team, sled, bride, and two cows, set out for his forest home, which was reached by February, 1799.  The journey occupied three weeks, and the same distance has been traveled by descendants in fourteen hours.  Desire ROOT came out with the couple and married, as stated, Joseph SAWYER.  DEWEY made purchase of his first hay in March, of Sharon BOOTH.  Nine children were born to Jedediah and Anna, and the cradle in which they rested was but the hollowed section of a log.  The first settler in the Village of Manchester was Sylvester DAVIS, who located there to follow his trade.  His blacksmith shop, erected in 1798, a few rods east of the Manchester bridge, was the first in the town.  For years he occupied his shop, and was in later years known as captain of militia.  Controversy respecting boundary lines caused a new survey of the township, which was made during 1798 by James SMEDLEY.  During the winter a prayer meeting, held by Methodists at the house of Sharon BOOTH, gave a beginning to what ultimately became the first Methodist Church of Manchester.  The first settler, near Plainsville or Gypsum, was Abraham SPOOR, a resident of the locality in 1798, and following him during the same year came the VANDERHOOFS, Jacob and John, from Morris county, New Jersey, and selected lands in and around Plainsville.  Lots 81 and 64 were deeded June 5, 1800, to their father, Garret VANDERHOOF, who came in during the summer.

 

SETTLERS AND EVENTS OF 1799

The closing years of the last century presents us the names of Nathan JONES, Peleg REDFIELD, Joseph HART, Jacob WHITE, Daniel MACOMBER, and Asa REED.  These, with their families came on from the east and began new points of settlement.  MACOMBER came in winter and squatted on the north half of lot No. 71, now owned by Henry C. HILL.  Unable to make payment, he never obtained a title.  He had, at one time, the belief that his time had come to die, and "went to bed with his breeches on"; there he had remained six months, when one day Ephraim HALL, in search of his cows, found and pursued a bear, which came close in front of MACOMBER's door.  The invalid heard the shouts of HALL, saw the bear, and forgot his ills; he sprang up and joined in the chase; the game was captured, and MACOMBER cured.   Whether more generally brought to notice, or the loneliness of the life was the occasion, the records of early settlement furnish many instances of metal aberration.  

During the summer, Asa REED, Aunt Mittie, his wife, and two sons, Asa and Calvin, came to Silver street, and was the second family to settle in that locality.  The parents died in the town and the sons moved west.  The love of hunting was with this family, a passion.  To hunt "coons" was the delight of the father.  On one night three large raccoons fell into his hands, and as he returned home with them he met neighbor David ALDRICH, to whom he showed the results of his hunt, and said, " Dave, if I could but catch a coon that weighted a thousand pounds."  Poverty stood in the way of the boys obtaining guns.  Finally one was secured, but it would not stand cocked.  The boys, proceeding to hunt, found a deer.  Calvin in vain essayed to discharge the piece; finally Asa eying first the deer and then his brother said, "Hands too, Calvin! Hands too, I can cock it in less than fifteen minutes."  Time sped and likewise the deer, and the REEDS did not have venison for supper.    

Jacob WHITE was the first settler in the neighborhood of the Armington schoolhouse, and occupied a house built near or upon the site of GOODALE'S residence.  On July 31, 1799, he obtained the deed of lots No. 6 and 81, paying therefore $750.  Nathan JONES and family located on the Shaving street road, a mile west of Clifton Springs.   Their habitation was in the lot where stands an old red painted house, a few rods west of Fall creek.  JONES erected a saw mill upon the side of the older plaster mill yet standing.  A purchase had been made by Ebenezer PRATT, early in 1798; he became the purchaser of lot 17, now including the farms of Dr. PRATT, Augustus PRATT, and D.B. RECORD, and then lying between the lands of Joab GILLET and Nathan PIERCE.  Two sons, Ebenezer and Elkanah, came out and settled upon the purchase.  Their habitation was a doorless and windowless double log house, which stood in front of what is now Dr. PRATT'S front yard.  The floors were of split bass-wood logs, hewed smooth. It is said that when the floor became soiled one of the brothers would take his adze ad go to work.  The result would be a pile of soiled chips in the fireplace and a new floor.  The house was used as a tavern until 1802, when Ebenezer built another, and set up a new tavern on the Gillet tract.  This new structure was a one story frame, low but capacious.  The old "yellow house" after many years, has vanished amid the wrecks of the past.  The double log house was the first tavern in the town.  In 1802, Ebenezer PRATT, Sr., with the rest of the family, joined the boys; and it was closely following this reunion that Ebenezer, united in marriage to Margaret SPEER, had built and opened the tavern above noted. 

Prior to 1798, three persons, Israel, Thomas and Nathaniel HARRINGTON, alike in surname, yet of no kin, settled on Silver street.  Thomas located upon thirty acres of the west end of lot 108 now known as the MC CAULEY farm, and Nathaniel settled upon lot 109, and later sold to James COATES.  Israel and his two daughters, Mary and Lucretia, made their home with Thomas, who married Mary, while Nathaniel did the same by Lucretia, and so established full relation by marriage.  Nathaniel, having sold, as indicated, to COATES, went to the Holland purchase, and thence to Jackson, Michigan.  All the family went with him from here.  Jeremiah HART, accompanied by his father, Joseph, came out in 1799, and purchased one hundred and two acres of lot 13, original survey.  Deed was received in 1809, and was from Theodore SEDGWICK of Massachusetts.  The land is now owned by G.W. MC LOUTH.  Jeremiah, soon after locating, married Ella HARRINGTON.  Their children were Joseph, Ellery, and Daivd.  Joseph was provided a farm on lot 29, whereon his son, Robert F., resides.  The homestead fell to Ellery, and David died young. 

On the 15th of November, 1799, Peleg REDFIELD bought of Oliver PHELPS lot 69, and part of lot 67, township 11, giving in exchange his small farm in Suffield, Connecticut.  Seven hundred and twenty dollars was the consideration for one hundred and eighty acres, located a mile and a half west of Clifton Springs, and now owned by a son, W.H.C. REDFIELD.  Having located, REDFIELD erected the body of a log house, cleared three acres, and in February 1800, removed hither with his wife and six children.  That part of the journey west of Utica was memorable.  The family came with a span of horses and a sleigh; the latter was loaded with bedding, furniture, and the family; the snow was three feet deep, and progress was very slow.  The cabin of Jedediah DEWEY gave shelter until spring, and "bark would peel."  The log house was then completed and the family moved in.  By fall a double logged dwelling had been constructed, and therein was found ample room.  In 1805, REDFIELD erected a good frame dwelling, and obtained for it nails and glass at Utica.  The house, unchanged save in needful repair, is yet standing.  The wife of Peleg REDFIELD was Mary JUDD, the mother of ten children - eight boys and two girls.  She died subsequently, in her eightieth year, while Peleg survived till May 26, 1852, when he died, at the age of ninety.  The eldest of the family, Heman J. REDFIELD,  studied law in the office of John C. SPENCER, at Canandaigua; removed to Batavia, where hi is yet living.  Manning, the second son, became a farmer, and was accidentally kills on February 26, 1850, while marketing grain at the flouring mills in Manchester village.  Lewis H., became apprentice to James D. BEMIS, of Canandaigua in 1812.  In 1814 he was known as editor and proprietor of the Onondaga Register.  He removed in 1929 to Syracuse and united his paper with the Gazette.  In 1832 he sold The Syracuse Register and Gazette, and at present is a resident of the place.  He is one of the oldest living printers in the State.  The other children filled high positions in society, and justify the prominence, which attaches to their history. 

The town was first divided into road districts, March 8, 1799.  Three of the seven were in what is now Manchester.  District No. 8 included the west half of the town, No. 6 east of the cente line and north of the Canandaigua outlet, and No. 7 the remainder.  On April 2, a town meeting was held at Nathan HERENDEEN'S house.  Joshua VAN FLEET and Hooker SAWYER were chosen road commissioners; Nathan PIERCE, assessor; Joab GILLET, poor-master.  Benjamin PETERS, Peter SPEKIN and Benjamin BARNEY were made overseers and fence viewers of the three road districts mentioned.  Nathan PIERCE was made chairman of the school committee and the place of the meetings was voted to be at the house of William CLARKE.   

The first general election was held in 1799, for senators and assemblymen to represent Ontario and Steuben in the Legislature.  The following is a record of election found on page 9 of the old town book:

"Farmington, May 4, 1799

"I hereby certify that the inspectors of election of this town, that is Otis COMSTOCK, Nathan PIERCE, Asa WILMARTH - returned certificates, subscribed by them, of the statement of votes received at said election for assemblymen and cenetors, which was as follows, viz: Charles WILLIAMSON had 34 votes for Assemblyman for the county of Steuben; Nathaniel NORTON had the same in Ontario; Vincent MATTHEWS and Moses KENT had each 24 votes for cenetors.

Asa WILMARTH, Town Clerk"

 

This abbreviated record shoes a unanimous choice.  The two dozen voters of 1799 had increased in 1875 , to 1,010 cast for governor in the same territory.  On May 3, 1800, election for member of congress was held, with 41 votes cast.  Thomas MORRIS received 38votes; William STUART, 3 votes.  Prominent among the families which had increased the number of votes by 17 in the town, within the year, by their immigration, were the HOWLANDS, GRANGERS, THROOPS, RUSHES and SHEKELLS.

The New England farmers scant in resource, traded their small estates and received good sized western farms.  The proprietors, Phelps and Gorham, were no losers, as the income of settlers enhanced the value of adjacent tracts.  Gilbert HOWLAND, of Adams, Massachusetts, traded his farm of fifty acres to MC FARLAND for five hundred acres, located in Manchester, in 1798.  The family arrived February 1800.  The deed given by Oliver PHELPS is dated April 25, 1799, and conveys lots 39, 41, 76, and parts of 38, 84, 92, and 36, in consideration of one thousand five hundred and three dollars.  On the day after the family's arrival, a great snow storm raged, and in its midst they went to the cabin of Job HOWLAND, resident of Farmington.  As Gilbert, striding through the snow, saw his brother Job standing in the door, he shouted as his greeting, "Job, you lied; you said it never snowed out here!"  The two families resided together until a log house was built, just west of William STEELE'S place.  Mrs. HOWLAND had brought on a package of apple seeds, and finding all busy in planting beans, potatoes, and other articles for more immediate use, herself went to work and fired a large brush heap near the house, and upon its site prepared the earth and in drills planted the seeds.  From these seeds grew trees, which are standing today, evidences of an enterprising woman's forethought.  The family consisted of Gilbert, Elizabeth, his wife, and seven children, Jonathan, Nicholas, David, Charles, Job, Polly and Betsy.  In 1819 Gilbert divided his lands into for farms among his children, and the old estate long remained in their hands.   

The settlement of Manchester, began in the southwest, gradually extending to the north and east.  John SHEKELL, of Frederick county, Maryland, was the first settler in what is now the village of Clifton Springs.  On the hill top east of the village stands a frame building, publicly known as Mrs. BALCOM'S boarding house.  This was the old SHEKELL mansion, to the east end of which stood the original double log house which was built in 1800, and opened as a tavern to travelers.  With the arrival of the family in 1801, came the first slaves in the town, three in number, Nath, Rose and Lucy.  They were in time set free and provided each with five acres of land, and provision made for maintenance as long as they lived.  On September 29, 1802, Mr. SHEKELL received deed for lot No. 99, in township 11, 2nd range, excepting "the new Brimstone Spring, together with ten acres of land adjoining to same."  Five hundred and forty dollars were paid for one hundred and thirty-five acres, which were bounded by the town line on the east, north by what would not be a prolongation of Teft avenue, west by a line coinciding with the west boundary of the village lot of William COX, and south by a line outside corporate village limits.  SHEKELL brought out a grown family.  Richard settled the SANGER place, disliked the climate and selling to Harley REDFIELD, returned to Maryland.  Benjamin married Nancy JONES, and lived upon the farm now occupied by Sidney JACKSON.  Other members of the family lived and died in town. 

Samuel RUSH was the father of eleven children.  The ninth in order of birth was Russell M. RUSH, born in 1793, and living with his daughter, Mrs. MC LOUTH.  Two sons of Samuel had preceded him, and settled in Farmington.  Samuel RUSH, with four children, Mary, Rhoda, Marquis and Russell, reached the house of the PRATTS on October 16, 1800.  It was decided to remain there till a house could be built.  There were then two dwellings in the village of Manchester - the PRATT'S and that of Sylvester DAVIS, directly opposite.  The RUSH farm was on lot 73, of the first survey, and now constitutes the Anson LAPHAM farm.  In 1806, he sold out and went to Farmington.  In the fall of 1805, Russell worked for Bezaliel GLEASON two months for a barrel of salt and a pair of shoes.  Salt was high, and the ordinary rate of exchange was eleven bushels of wheat for one of salt, and then there were times of scarcity.  Mr. RUSH says: In 1814, Moses BUCK, erected the first building used as a tavern where stands the hotel kept by Nathan ALDRICH.  The old stone building refitted by Willson and Allen was built by Nathan BARLOW, in 1809.  He was the first storekeeper in the town, and likewise the first postmaster.  Elihu OSGOOD, who had worked a few years or so in 1802 for Nathan PIERCE and for Joseph HART and others, finally made a purchase, in 1802, of twenty acres from the southeast corner of lot 13.  He built a log house where stands the residence of his son Thomas, and to it brought Amy LA MUNION, his wife.  In time the twenty acres have been increased to two hundred and ten children had grown up to lives of usefulness and honor.  Amanda, wife of Orrin REED, of Stafford street, is the only survivor of four daughters.  Thomas still resides upon the old farm; Barrus is a resident of Manchester; Myron went to California, thence to the Sandwich Islands, to escape consumption, the foe of the family, and there died; and Edward is a resident of Canandaigua.  At one time the annual crop of wheat from the farm sold at from $2500 to $3000, and the labor was done by the family.  The first settlers on Stafford street were Zuriel FISH and Philip LA MUNION, from Rhode Island, in the winter of 1799-1800.  they started with a large ox-sled each, but spring came and the wagon took the place of the sled.  Their land was reached about May 1, and preparatory work occupied the summer and fall.  The house of FISH stood a half mile east of Orrin REED'S; that of LA MUNION, near Norris SAWYER'S tenant house.  The former took up two hundred acres, the latter, twenty-three.  Icabod WARD and Samuel DORRANCE, of Connecticut, had loaned money to Oliver PHELPS, and as a repayment, the latter deeded to them large tracts in the northeastern corner of Manchester, and adjacent lots in Phelps and Arcadia.  These lands were located, about 1800, but he parties named.  The first settler locating upon these lands was Benjamin THROOP.  Selecting his land in 1801, he brought on his family in 1802.  His possessions included lots 121, 1222, 54, 112, and part of 111.  Four dollars an acre were paid, and the Connecticut homestead was thrown in at twenty dollars per acre.  The first log house was built in the center of what was then known as the six-mile woods, and stood a few rods west of the residence of J.A. THROOP.  The nearest house north in 1802, was that of Judge William ROGERS, of Palmyra, and southward there was none nearer than Plainsville.  Abram SPOOR, living upon Abram VANDERHOOF'S place, was the nearest neighbor.  The first domicile was a flat-roof shanty; then a large hewed-log dwelling, one and a half stories high, was occupied; it had a pine floor and a brick chimney, and was altogether respectable for those days.  Travel along the road was considerable, and the THROOP home became a public hostelry.  It was licensed in 1808, and continued to be for several years.  Not only the whites patronized this in, but the Indians regarded it as a favorite stopping place in traveling from Oneida to Tonawanda, a reservation.  As many as eighteen were kept overnight at one time.  Benjamin THROOP passed his days on the farm, and died at the age of eighty seven, on January 17, 1842.  His wife, Rachel died in her ninety-ninth year.  Azel THROOP, the only survivor of the family, was ten years old when the family moved in, and still lives on the homestead with his son, J. Allen THROOP.  Gehazi GRANGER located one hundred and fifty two acres of lot 96, original surveys; to earn the money to make payment he worked in the Littleville mills, owned by Zacariah SEYMOUR.  At the end of six years he had paid for his land.  He built his first house about fifteen rods east of the Shaving street schoolhouse, which stands on the corner of the original purchase.  The farm is yet held by Julius N. GRANGER, Esq., who was married to Sarah Ann DOUGLAS, of Brandon, Vermont.  Mrs. GRANGER was sister to Hon. Stephen A. DOUGLAS, a man esteemed by the American people and well-nigh made their president.

In 1804, Theophilus SHORT came to Manchester.  Shortsville lad then no inhabitants.  The CANFIELD place was occupied by Levi FULLER, and in the vicinity dwelt Asel KENT.  During 1802, Giles SAGE entered the Silver street settlement and bought fifty acres from the west side of lot 109.  The land is now owned by Wm. H. COATS.  Mr. SAGE married Lydia HERENDEEN, and of eight children there was but one son, Orson, who, removing to West Virginia, was one of those staunch Unionists who gave that region its fame and who suffered by the burning of his house at rebel hands, and whose personal services were given the country in the dangerous character of a spy.  Another name prominently connected with Silver street is that of Ephraim HILL, who, on May 8, 1801, obtained a deed for tow hundred and eight acres of land, embracing parts of lots 71 and 108, paying therfor one thousand one hundred and six dollars and fifty cents.  His removal with his family was made early in 1802.  The journey was made in sleighs as far as the salt springs of Onondaga; thence the journey was made in a wagon, upon which the lightest goods were taken, leaving the heavy furniture for another time.  Unfortunately, the cooking utensils were left behind, and food was boiled in a three-pail kettle, it being the only article of the kind brought through. 

Arriving at Clifton Springs, the primitive road ceased, and the family had to create their own road.  HILL, axe in hand, selected the route, and dodging large trees, cutting down brush and smaller ones, worked his way the remaining distance.  He brought out a span of horses and eighteen head of cattle.  The horses were stung to death by large, voracious yellow bottle-flies abounding in the woods.  Only two acres of corn were raised the first summer, and upon this and what the forest could afford the cattle were fed.  The family consisted of eleven children: two died east.  Of the nine, eight were boys; six of them died of consumption.  Two are living, Joel HILL in Catauqua and Ephraim; the latter lives in sight of the old homestead, just south of the Hopewell and Manchester line.  When Ephraim was a youth, six families, all neighbors, lived along Silver street, and in those six families there were fifty children.  In those same six houses live as many families, mainly descendants of the former ones.  The ages of the parents are not about the same as there were then, and the number of children is but ten.  The statement here applied has a wider range, and has a consequence full of interest to those who look to national welfare. 

In the year 1803, Hezekiah BAGGERLY became a resident of Manchester, and purchased land now owned by Harrison BAGGERLY.  Upon the site of the present family residence the first log house was built.   Mr. BAGGERLY wrote his father, Henry, such encouraging accounts as led him to emigrate form the old home in Maryland to Ontario County, and take up his abode in Phelps, where his history may be found, and that of his sons Evertt, Tyson, John, Alpheus, Samuel, Henry and America.  The ORME girls, Becky, Cynthia and Harriet, accompanied by one servant, made the journey on horseback to Manchester from Frederick (MD.) to see their sister, Charlotte, the wife of Hezekiah BAGGERLY.  Cynthia became the wife of Richard GIDDINGS.  Her sisters remained single through life.  The name of Henry PRICE, of Maryland, a settler of1807, upon the land now owned by Dennis C. ARCHER, is prominent in early record.  He was twice married; first to Sarah WALKER then to Elizabeth REDMOND.  Twelve children were born to him, all of whom reached maturity.  After a few years, Mr. PRICE sold his farm and removed to Clarkson, Monroe county.  An early settler in Plainsville's locality was Abraham SPOOR, upon the place now the property of Abram VANDERHOOF.  He was the father of five children.  A peculiarity of the family is found in the fact that, with one exception, they were all professional singing teachers.

Timothy BIGELOW and family set out form the northern part of Herkimer, during the winter of 1804-5, for Ontario county.  He packed his goods on a two horse sleight, and took his family in a cutter, and set out upon a toilsome journey by way of Utica and Oneida.  When, finally, they rested on the eastern border of the Montezuma marshes, the melting influence of the spring weather made progress difficult.  BIGELOW had purchased lot 51, and parts of lots 111, 51, 104 and 106, three hundred acres of the forest.  He erected a log hut, which stood a short distance back of the dwelling of Edwin SLACY, and became the first settler at Halliday's Corners.  Mrs. BIGELOW was a woman of strong powers of endurance.  It is said that at the age of sixty she carried thirty pounds of groceries from Buffalo to her home in Erie county, thirty miles distance, and accomplished the journey in a day.  She removed to Illinois and lived to see her 95th year. 

 

WAR OF 1812 AND THE SOLDERS OF THE REVOLUTION

Among the old pioneers who had served in the war for Independence, may be named Peleg REDFIELD, Nathan PIERCE, Joshua VAN FLEET, Samuel RUSH, Joab GILETT, Thomas SAWYER, Israel HARRINGTON, Ebenezer PRATT, and Nicholas CHRYSLER.  

The rank of none is recorded, save of Mr. PIERCE, who was captain, and present in the expedition against Quebec and Montreal, under the command pf General ARNOLD.  Among  the first to volunteer from Manchester, in 1812, was Nathan PIERCE Jr., who had the misfortune to be captured, but was soon after discharged.  Nicholas HOWLAND was commissioned captain on May 28, 1812, in a regiment commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Thaddeus REMINGTON.  His parents were Friends,  and averse to his going upon the lines; but when tidings came of Buffalo captured, scruples yielded, and at the hand of his company, he had begun his march when the news of the British retreat caused its return and disbandment.  

The company was led by Lieutenant Peter MITCHELL, who for a time served in the regiment as its adjutant.  Heman J. REDFIELD was in the action at Queenstown Heights, and in 1813 was with General HARRISON at Fort George, Upper Canada. In this campaign he received a brevet commission.  His brothers, Manning and Harley, also stood in the American ranks, , as did Joshua STEVENS and John WYATT, employees  of Short's Mills.  Moses and Jacob EDDY, father and son, were in the artillery company posted at Black Rock.  John ROBINSON, Timothy BIGELOW and Asel THROOP were also volunteers of this town in 1812.  Achilles BOSTSFORD, the probable first shoemaker in Manchester, left his awl to fight for his country.  Substitutes were furnished after drafting was inaugurated, and the usual price was $50.  Russell M. RUSH and Hooker SAWYER were in the ranks during the war.  Omissions there may have been, and yet 19 soldiers went from a town, which at a general election cast not 100 votes.  

 

SECRET SOCIETIES OF MANCHESTER

The first meeting for the organization of a Masonic lodge in the village of Manchester was held in the year 1815, at the hotel of Reuben BUCK.  A petition fro a charter was sent to the Grand Lodge.  At the initial meeting, 14 members of the order were present.  A second meeting was held at the house of Elisha JOHNSON, and a permanent room was obtained of Mr. BUCK, who was the first person elected and initiated as a member of the lodge obtaining permission to add a second story, to be used as a Masonic hall.  A charter was granted November 20, 1816, and is signed by De Witt CLINTON, Grand Master, Martin HOFFMAN, D.G.M., and John WELLS, G.S.  The organization is entitled Manchester Lodge, No. 269.  A public installation of officers took place in the stone church between Manchester and Shortsville; and this was the first public meeting within its walls. E. DOTY officiated at W.M.P.T.  The address was by MR. COLLINS, of Bloomfield.  The officers installed were Elisha JOHNSON, Master; Theophilus SHORT, S.W.; Nathan BARLOW, J.W.; John B. RUMSEY, Secretary; Timothy ALLEN, Treasurer; Stephen BREWSTER, S.D.; Benjamin B. BROWN, J.D.; J. D. HOSKINS, and James DAVINE, Stewards; and Henry DEPEW, Tyler.  The following named members of the lodge were present at the installations: John CRANE, S. CLARK, J. MILLER, H. HOWARD, Reuben BUCK, A.N. BUCK, Nathan PIERCE, John AVERILL, Rufus PIERCE, Samuel S. WHIPPLE, Peter BROWN, James STEWART, Andrew CROCKER, Zurial BROWN, Benjamin HOWLAND, William POPPLE, Peter MITCHELL and John ROBINSON.  The last annual meeting of the lodge was held December 17, 1828.  A circular was sent to various lodges to devise means to  restore Masonry to the position held prior to the MORGAN affair.  A meeting to discuss this circular, was held March 18, 1829, and was the last meeting of the lodge.  Dr. Philip N. DRAPER, died December 15, 1927, and his was the last burial with Masonic honors made by the lodge.

 

POLITICAL HISTORY

In 1804, the first town meeting ever held within the limits of Manchester had its session at the house of Ebenezer PRATT (Jr.)  In 1815 it was held in the shop of M. and R. BUCK, and in 1818, at the store of Nathan BARLOW.  

The question of a division was early brought forward, but year by year was defeated, until the division party, by appeal to the Legislature, accomplished their purpose.  On March 31, 1821, the act of division was passed and the new town was known as Burt. 

The first town meeting was ordered to be held at the school house near the residence of David HOWLAND,  The people did not like the name given their town, and April 16, 1822, it was changed to Manchester.  

The first meeting of Manchester was held in 1823, at the school house, but in 1824, "The annual meeting in and for the town of Manchester, was opened, agreeable to adjournment, on the rewins* (*ruins) of the old school hous, and for want of shelter was adjourned to Peter WILLIAMS' barn."

At the town meeting held in 1821, Joshua VAN FLEET was elected supervisor; Gehazi GRANGER, clerk; Thomas KINGSLEY, David HOWLAND and Peter MITCHELL, assessors; William POPPLE, collector; Jacob COST, Carols HARMON and Nicholas HOWLAND, commissions of highway; Titus BEMENT and James HARLAND, overseers of the poor; William POPPLE, Robert SPEAR and John SCHUTT, constables; Addison N. BUCK, Azel THROOP and George REDFIELD, commissioners of common schools; C. HARMON, P. MITCHELL and Leonard SHORT, inspectors of common schools.  

During the period form the organization of the town in 1797, till its division in 1821, citizens of Manchester held positions of supervisor for 19 years.  Nathan PIERCE was elected to the office for 15 consecutive years.  An office, not pleasant, but essential, was that of collector.  The duty was the gathering up of moneys due from tax and fines.  Sharon BOOTH filled the place in 1797, Isaac LAPHAM in 1800 and his brother, Joshua, in 1802.  William MITCHELL was elected from 1809 to 1819.  During MITCHELL's  term all able bodied men were required to report at stated periods to some convenient point for general training; and fines were imposed on those absent.  MITCHELL, firm and courteous, levied on whatever came convenient, and live stock and fowls made up a large portion of his proceeds.  

 

INITIAL EVENTS AND HUMORS

The first burial in the cemetery of the village of Manchester was Dorris BOOTH, who died January 11, 1801.* (*conflicts with the 1st burial listed in 1911 history)  She was the first person born in the town as we have stated, and was the eldest child of Sharon BOOTH.  The first merchant in the business in the town was Nathan BARLOW.  The first physician was James SEWARD and the first shoemaker, Achilles BOTSFORD.  The first fire occurring in town was the burning of BOOTH's log house.  Ten dollars bounty was voted for every wolf's head taken within the limits of the "deestrict".  A certificate was give for a scalp.  Isaac HATHAWAY gave a certificate for a wolf scalp on January 25, 1798.  That was the first wolf scalp taken in the new town.  The last wolf was killed in 1818 by Joseph BURNEY and Christopher BRADY, in a hunt of which a large number of men and boys were present.  Stock ran on the "common", -- that is, was turned loose and grazed in field and wood unfenced.  The cattle were liable to stray away, and as a means of identification various markers were recorded.  The first record of a stray was made December 10, 1802, by Cromwell WELLS, who states he has "Found within my Inclosed Land a Lost spring Calf, Read and White," etc.  Another stray is advertised, "Found within my inclosure a 3 year old bay cold having no ear marks on them, except a short tail."  In early days, Timothy RYAN located in the southwest corner of the town, on a part of lot 22, now owned by a Hart LATTING.  HE paid for his farm and received his deed in 1808.  He gave part of his attention to bee raising.  On May 12, 1814, he was attacked by his bees and stung to death.  He was buried in the old cemetery (Dillon cemetery) near the residence of Oliver ROYCE, and on his tombstone, is the following epitaph:  

A thousand ways cut short our days; none are exempt form death.  

A honey bee, by stinging me, did stop my mortal breath.

This grave contains the last remains of my frail house of clay;

My soul is gone, not to return, to one eternal day."

 

 

EDUCATIONAL - EARLY SCHOOLS AND TEACHERS

 

At the first annual town meeting, three persons were elected as the committee on schools and until 1815, all educational affairs were under their control, but in this year, "inspectors of common schools" were elected and consisted of a board of six members.  Clara CRANE was one of the early teachers in a log school house used by the settlers of Silver ands Shaving streets.  The locality of the house is not known.  Later, each street built a house for itself, and had its own school,  The first school in the village of Manchester was taught by James MITCHELL, in the loom house of Jacob GILLETT.  At a later date, a school house was built on the corner now occupied by Jeremiah RUSHMORE.  The first teacher in that house was Miss Drazy MC LOUTH,  to whom the children came from the PRATT, PIERCE and HOWLAND neighborhoods.  School districts were multiplied, and each locality had its own house.  A building for educations purpose was then erected near the site of Hiram JENNING'S residence.  Finally, a brick house was built on the east side of the square.  The first school in Shortsville was held in the house of Asel KENT, and was conducted by Manning REDFIELD.   In 1807, a school house was built on the Elam DEWEY farm, and the instructor, Rev. FITZGERALD, was especially remembered as a great snuff-taker.  He was succeeded by Polly PIERCE, who, in addition to English rudimentary instruction, added lessons in knitting.  The first school house in Shortsville was built in 1811, where now stands the house of William CAMP.  The first teacher was Harry ROBINSON , followed by Sylvester MINOR and Aaron POMEROY.  In the northeast part of the town, the first school was held in a lean-to attached to the dwelling of Dr. AINSWORTH, on the HOLCOMB farm.  This place is just across the line in Palmyra, but was attended by all the Manchester children convenient to it.  As early as 1800, Benjamin THROOP Jr., was a teacher there.  Some years afterwards, a log house was built near the home of Isaac MOORE.  In 1809, John HUGGINS taught there.  A neat frame was built, in 1816, near the present dwelling of Laban  WELLS, and from there it was removed to the four corners, localized as War Shanty.  

 

A town library ws projected in 1814 in the village of Manchester.  The citizens of the town subscribed and took 1,000 shares of stock, at $1 per share.  Standard books were purchased and free of use to stockholders, and at nominal rates to others.  The library at one period, contained  over 600 volumes.  The reminant of this collection, in the hands of J. R. PRATT, M.D., evidence a judicious selection and an extensive use.  

 

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