Town of  Naples History 

from History of Ontario Co, NY  

     Pub 1878  pg 260 - 264

Kindly transcribed by Deborah Spencer

 

Return to Home Page                         Return to Town Histories

TOWN OF NAPLES

 Here spreads a forest; there a village shines;

Here swell the hills, and there a vale declines;

Here through the meads, meandering waters run;

There placid lakes reflect the full-orbed sun.---Amen. 

Eighty-five years have elapsed since the pioneers, adventurous, self-denying, and enduring, left their New England homes, with habits of industry and frugality, and founded here, in the then distant west, their life-long homes upon a moral and religious basis, and one by one, passing away, bequeathed to his posterity good example, valuable precept, and a toil-won old homestead farm. 

The fame of the Genesee country had spread far and wide in sterile New England.  As men slept there came bright visions of comfortable homes and moderate competence in the land of hill and dale, mead and lake, and they awoke to make the dream a reality.  They bid adieu to friends in tears, whose last farewell was waved as distance slowly came between.  The westward fever grew, and tales of wonderful fertility and attractive scenery, healthful clime and prospective fortunes, were circulated from health to hearth. 

A public meeting was held at Patridgefield in 1789, and a company of 60 persons was formed in the towns of Dalton, Windsor, Pittsfield, and Patridgefield, in Berkshire county, Massachusetts, to purchase a township of Phelps and Gorham in the Genesee country.  At a subsequent meeting, where Colonel William CLARK was chairman, a committee of 11 was chosen to purchase said township.  These men were, William CLARK, Nathan WATKINS, William WATKINS, Edward KIBBE, Nathan HIBBARD, Elizur BURNHAM, Dennison ROBINSON, Thomas ROBINSON, William CADY, James HARRIS, and Ephraim CLEVELAND.  They selected from their number a committee of three, viz., Edward KIBBE, Nathan WATKINS, and William CADY.  This committee was empowered to proceed to the Genesee country and make purchase of a township of land; knapsacks were supplied with blankets for camping out, with provisions, and a bottle of New England rum was also considered no small part of the outfit.  The three pioneers set out on foot about the middle of September, 1789.  They had reached the valley of the Mohawk, enjoying the free hospitality of the old Dutch settlers, with slight fatigue, but, as the wilderness closed in on their narrow and winding road, and as they trod long stretches of the strange pathway, the limbs became weary and the feet sore.  Gladly they stopped at each little log tavern a score of miles from the last, and then entered upon the track of the Oneidas and slept by the fires these former foes had kindled.  After three weeks of toilsome travel, the trio reached Kanandarque.  They saw General CHAPIN, agent of Phelps and Gorham, and announced their business.  “Go,” said he, “and look at township No. 9, second range.”  This was what is now Gorham, and the committee found the land covered with oak openings with a mixture of heavy timber and with gently undulating surface, and declared this to be their choice.  While at breakfast, a stranger came up and asked an opinion of the country, and they answered that a township beyond the foot of the lake was satisfactory to them; while they finished breakfast, the stranger went to the land office and secured the town for the lessee company of Dutchess county, and the committee tried the agent again.  General CHAPIN gave them No. 9, 5th range, now the town of Richmond, north of the Honeoye lake, to inspect.  They followed the marked town lines by aid of compass, and returning, contracted for the township, and reaching home in safety made a favorable report.  A purchase was concluded with Phelps and Gorham, then at Granville, for what is now known as Richmond.  Through mistakes or intention, township No. 7, in the 4th range, was deeded to the proprietors, and they submitted to this apparently fair transaction and consummated the purchase of what is now the town of Naples, 6 by 5 ½ miles, but not then surveyed.  It was considered so remote that one of the proprietors said, “It is a barren, mountainous region, whose lonesome silence and wilderness retreats would never be broken only by the croaking of bullfrogs or the hideous growls of wild beasts.”  The deed to the proprietors conveys township No. 7, 4th range, being six miles north and south, by  5 ½ east to west, and containing 21,120 acres.  The consideration was £1056 current money of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, bearing date March 20, 1789, and made the price of the land about 12 cents an acre.  Meanwhile, preparations were going on in Berkshire for removal to this purchase. 

The pioneers of Naples were Samuel, Reuben, and Levi PARRISH, formerly from Connecticut, and members of the company of 60 purchasers.  These were the first to set out with their families in the midst of the hard winter of 1790-91.  They were four weeks upon their eventful journey, driving their two ox-teams, fording bridgeless streams, cutting their way at times, and crossing upon thick ice the Kanandarque lake.  It was a bleak, cold day in February, when the little party, coming up the inlet at sunset, halted at an Indian hut for shelter, while the oxen were turned out to feed upon the dry wild grass, grown luxuriant in the valley of Koyandagee (between the hills).  Silence was broken only by the barking of Indian dogs, that answered each other from hut to hut.  The night was clear and cold, and the full moon shone brightly upon a lonesome wintry scene.  The party saw the frozen snow gleaming in the subdued light from the hill-sides with the brightness of silver, while the somber shades of higher acclivities lay stretched along the margin of the valley.  A cold repast was taken, and the Indians looked on in silence.  The minds of the women took in and sensibly felt their situation; home, kindred, and friends were far away, comfort and society were exchanged for a smoke-filled wigwam of bark and dirt, from which, with tear-filled eyes, they gazed despondent.  A cold night was sleeplessly passed by the PARRISH families. 

The morning came, and the smoke of 40 wigwams curled slowly upwards, while all around was stamped with savage impress save the ox-sleds and their close-packed loading.  These Indians of the Seneca tribe in groups watched the movements of the white families.  HINTONTA, their chief, stood by Canesque, the ex-chief, powerful in frame and with hair bleached silver-white with the frosts of a century, and they seemed to meditate upon the destiny of their race.  The great Indian trail to Kanadesaga and Kanandarque passed through the valley, and tradition asserts that here were the headquarters of the Senecas.  The lofty hills, says PARRISH, on either side were so destitute of timber that a deer could plainly be seen from one extremity to the other, even to the very summit.  The PARRISHES soon erected a small log house 16 by 18 feet, and covered it with oak shakes, held in place by poles.  Split bass-wood formed the floor; and the sled-box made a door and a table.  This house stood a little north from the brickyard, while a second built by Levi PARRISH stood on east Main, south of the present dwelling of Orlando CUMMINGS.  The last of April or the first of May, a large company of emigrants arrived to gladden the PARRISH families.  Colonel William CLARK, Captain CLEVELAND, Nathan and William WATKINS, John JOHNSON, and Jonathan LEE, with their families, 30 in all, had come in small bateaux up the Mohawk, Wood creek, Seneca river, and Kanandarque outlet, lake, and inlet.  They built a log house just below the present residence of Ephraim CLEVELAND, and this served for a temporary abode for the new settlers as they arrived.  During the summer Captain Nathan WATKINS built the fourth log house under the hill, north of M. H. Cleveland’s place.  Captain CLEVELAND erected the fifth house, and Colonel CLARK, the sixth; this last stood a few rods south of the residence of C. S. LINCOLN.  Captain William WATKINS built himself a house on the flats east of Main street.  The few log houses built before the advent of saw-mills were covered with hollow bass-wood, oak shakes, and black-ash bark.  The first framed barn was raised by Nathan WATKINS, in 1793, a little north of the CLEVELAND homestead.  The first framed house in Middletown was erected in 1794, by Isaac WHITNEY, and stood on the present site of E. WELLS’ residence.  It was not till 1860 that the first brick building--the Naples Academy--was erected in the town.  Nathan WATKINS was the pioneer tavern-keeper in “Watkinstown.” 

The early settlers were mostly inured to farm labor, and skillful in the manufacture and repair of their farm implements.  The first clearings were made adjacent their houses on each side of the public square, and there the first crops were planted and raised.  Captain KIBBE was an arrival from Patridgefield during 1793, and brought tidings fresh from the old home.  Till now no division of lands had been made, and, preparatory to this step, a plat was made to survey 195 lots of 180 acres each. 

These were numbered from the north to the south line of the town in 15 ranges, numbering from the east, westward.  Sylvester ATCHISON and Major HARRIS were employed as surveyors, Isaac and Jerrard WATKINS as axe-men, and John JOHNSON and Joel WATKINS carried the chain.  The party divided, and commenced surveying from opposite sides of the town at the same time.  Each party, nearing the centre, discovered an overplus eight rods wide.  Then surveying from the north and south sides, a strip of land 16 rods wide was discovered.  Thus was produced the eight and 16 rodways crossing at right angles the town’s centre, and adding to the size of the lots on the west side of the 8th rodway.  The survey ended, the company chose 15 of the best lots in the valley, partly cleared by Indians and long cultivated by them, and dividing each into four lots, numbered from one to 60 inclusive, designated them as “settling lots,” and allotted one to each of the company of 60.  A drawing was then had by numbers of all the lots.  Each share drew one of the settling lots and three of the out-lots, and quit-claim deeds exchanged.  Every share was drawn.  Some individuals had more than one share.  More than half the owners never saw the land, but bought on speculation or for their children.  Many hill lots were subsequently bought up by New York and New England capitalists, among whom was Robert BOWNE, a New York city merchant, who held over 4000 acres.  He sold to Marvel ELLIS, of Utica, taking half payment and mortgage for the other half.  ELLIS sold part to THOMAS, of Pittsfield, Massachusetts, but died before completing payment.  Meanwhile, BOWNE began a suit of foreclosure, but subsequently compromised by taking back half the lands.  After ELLIS’ death, BOWNE, or his heirs, conveyed by quit-claim deed the other half of the lots to ST. JOHNS, heir of Lord BOLINGBROKE.  The annual taxes on these lots were not paid.  Until about 1825, parts of lots, and in instances entire lots, had been sold for taxes, when the heir of ELLIS came on, took formal possession, and sold to settlers who had squatted on the lots.  Not knowing, among many claimants, the ones having rightful title, lots were designated as “unknown,” and this expression appeared for many years on the assessment rolls of the town.  Another cause of litigation was occasioned as follows: One of the 11 who took the title deed of the townships of Phelps and Gorham deceased within a year or two thereafter, and before deeding or quit-claiming to the other holders of the 60 shares.  His heirs, however, received their share to which his claim entitled them, and it was supposed to have been and was equitably settled, but 50 years after one of CADY’s heirs was told by a shrewd lawyer that inasmuch as his father had not parted with his title before his death, his heirs were technically the owners of 1/11 part of the whole township.  An hundred suits were simultaneously begun to recover.  These suits were settled by payments of $25 to $100 each. 

Several meetings were held by the proprietors, at one of which a vote was carried to “take beef and pork at the common price in payment for land they might sell.”  Land on the flats was held at $1-$2.00 an acre, while that remote was bartered away at different prices.  Subsequently, Robert BOWNE, of New York city, purchased 85 lots.

 

Roads out from the “settlement” were not known prior to 1796; communication was had by the lake and its inlets.  The first record of a road was made April 5, 1795, leading from the place of Nathan WATKINS, and surveyed by Ephraim CLEVELAND, assisted by Levi PARRISH and Isaac WATKINS.  The road towards Augusta (Rushville) was surveyed by Jabez FRENCH in 1794.  He was assisted by Othniel TAYLOR, Ephraim WILDER, and Abner BARLOW, and the record was made at Kanandarque. 

On November 15, 1796, a road was surveyed by John HOOKER from the house of Reuben PARRISH to the Indian landing.  The old Bristol road was laid out in 1795, from “Gilbert’s, No. 8, to the place of Joel WATKINS.”  The road which intersects the Honeoye road, beginning at the northwest corner of the town, in Hunt hollow, was laid in a southerly direction to the “great” Bath road.  Its survey was made December 19, 1799, by John HOOKER, assisted by Levi PARRISH and Benjamin CLARK, commissioners.  Early roads were lined through the woods and over hills to the nearest settler, avoiding sharp declivities and low swampy places.  The first bridge was built over the “big creek,” and crossed the flats on the 16 rodway. 

From 1792 to 1800 the flow of New England emigration brought cheer and comfort to the discontented and the suffering.  Breadstuffs fell short, and none could be procured short of Hopetown, 30 miles distant, and upon no road.  Families subsisted upon unripe fruits and vegetables, grain from the field, and game from the forest.  When corn ripened, there was no mill wherein to grind it.  An oak stump standing on the present site of the “Old Square” was hollowed out to hold the corn, and here the pestle was in use from mourning till evening.  The Indians took their turn after their white neighbors at the “morning” block.  Benjamin CLARK conceived the plan of bringing the water in a race from below the falls, a mile distant, to form three mill sites, including the present site of the Ontario mill.  Several “bees” were made, and the settlers turned out to construct the race-way through the woods.  When completed, Mr. CLARK and Jabez METCALF erected thereon the first saw-mill in town.  The irons were brought from Providence, Rhode Island, and 11 weeks were occupied in their transportation.  When the mill was completed, the settlers assembled to see the first board sawed, with the same spirit that the inhabitants of an inland town welcome the first train of cars passing through their incorporation. 

A saw-mill was erected by Reuben PARRISH at the mouth of the Parrish gully, and, in 1796, Benjamin CLARK built a grist-mill, in size 30 by 40 feet, on the present site of the Ontario mill.  Richard HENDERSON and Oliver TENNEY were the millwrights, and Charles WILCOX was the carpenter.  On the day set apart for the raising, all the men, women, and children in the settlement had gathered to aid or to look on as the heavy, substantial bents were raised.  The mill-stones were brought from Wyoming, Pennsylvania.  Four yoke of oxen were used, and the road was cut from Newtown, through a forest of hemlock.  The route led through the little villages of Bath and Painted Post.  The mill cost about $1,000, and would grind from 60-100 bushels in a day.  Previous to the completion of this mill the settlers went to Bath and Wilder’s Point, carrying their grists upon their backs to their canoes.  A cloth-dressing and wool-carding machine was put in operation by Jason GOODRICH below the “big bridge on the big creek;” not a vestige of it remains.  Later, Paul GRIMES built a large woolen-factory below the Grimes’ bridge, and it was operated for a number of years.  The same property is now owned by E. A. GRISWALD, by whom it has been converted into a stream, saw-, plaining-, lath-, and shingle-mill, with smaller machinery for other purposes. 

Perry HOLCOMB erected a wool-carding and cloth-dressing mill below the Ontario mill.  He was assisted in business by Chester REED, and later by H. F. WISEWELL, who sold to Mr. HOUSEL, who improved and sold to Morehouse & Co., by whom extensive improvements were added.  A large steam flour-and grist-mill, owned by James Covel & Sons, occupies the spot where stood the mill of Mr. CLARK.  Various machinery has been attached for planing, moulding, scroll-sawing, and other work.  Not a trace of the ancient saw- or grist-mills now remains save the old race. 

Merchandising was begun in 1796 by HESSELGESSER, a Hollander, who brought a small stock of goods into the settlement and offered them for sale in a small out-building near William WATKINS’ residence, on the flats.  He asked $3.10 a yard for broadcloth; calico, seven shillings; homespun, six shillings; nails per pound, four shillings; powder, eight shillings.  Trading was principally done in Kanandarque.  The scalps of wild animals, furs, Indian trinkets, maple sugar, and lumber were taken in exchange for goods.  Warren CLARK opened a small store on the site of the Monier store and carried on a large ashery, hauling his potash to Albany and exchanging for goods, which were brought to Kanandarque in wagons, and up the lake in bateaux.  The early merchants were Pardon T. BROWNELL, Robert FLEMING, and Calvin H. LUTHER, each of whom had kept a small retail store.  Captain Nathan WATKINS opened the first tavern with plain accommodations; drinks were sold at three cents, lodgings, sixpence, and meals for a shilling.  Jabez METCALF built a frame house under the hill west of the Square.  The Duke of Liancourt, afterwards known as Louis PHILIPPE, of France, was his guest while passing from Bath to Kanandarque, in 1795.  Paul GRIMES opened a tavern above the bridge.  Joseph CLARK kept a tavern on the flats.  Buildings and builders have both passed away.  Joshua ABBEY worked at blacksmithing at the Indian landing, opposite the present residence of Thomas HOOKER, and afterwards built a shop opposite the “Old Pond.”  Lyman HAWES and Lyman ABBEY were his apprentices.  Jabez METCALF, Jason GOODRICH, Oliver TENNEY, Amaziah CORNISH, and Charles WILCOX, were the first carpenters, and built by the “scribe-rule.”  The first houses were low, one-storied, and of New England style of architecture.  There were three distilleries in operation at an early date.  The first was built and run by Reuben PARRISH, the second by Warren CLARK, and the third by Zaccheus BARBER, at the south end of the settlement.  There was much of labor in field and village, but time was found for pleasant, social gatherings, and here a mutual admiration brought about the first marriage in the “settlement,”--that of Benjamin CLARK to Thankful WATKINS, daughter of William WATKINS.  The first birth was of Phineas P. LEE, son of Colonel James LEE.  He died in Sherwood, Michigan, at an advanced age.  Death, too, came in the train of mooted blessings, and the first known to the pioneers was that of the Seneca chief, Kanesque, at the age of 100 years.  He was conveyed upon a sled from Squaky Hill, a distance of 40 miles, by two of the tribe, to where he had chosen to die.  Every kindness that humanity could suggest was shown him during his remaining hours by his white friends.  His funeral was the first one attended by the early settlers.  His remains were placed in the Indian burying-place, upon a sand knoll opposite Toby street.  The second death was that of Eli KIBBE, son of Captain KIBBE.

Education of the common kind, to teach reading, writing, and the fundamental rules of arithmetic, was ever a leading thought with New Englanders, and children were not permitted, even in the settlements, to grow up wild and ignorant.  The first school was taught by Miss Olive CLEVELAND, in her father’s log barn.  Miss Susan taught the second school.  The first frame school-house was erected in 1797 on the square, and was used for a town-house and meeting-house.  The first teacher in this new house was Isaac BLANCHARD.  Caleb ABERNATHY taught there during the winter of 1799 and 1800.  He was the composer of the words and music, and delivered the eulogy on the death of WASHINGTON, which was solemnized the 22d of February, 1800.  The scholars that sang the ode and appeared in mourning were Miss Lovina CLARK, Sally KIBBE, Thena, Submit, Lucy, Lydia, and Rebecca CLARK, Fanny METCALF, Olive CLEVELAND, and John and Elias LEE.  Among the teachers in the pioneer days were John HOOKER, J. B. PARRISH, Mrs. Sally WILCOX, and Judith HAWES.  Mrs. Sally ANABLE, now 91, and Mrs. Laura FULLER, 84 years of age, were school-girls of the last century.  J. B. SUTTON, now 84, was a pupil of J. B. PARRISH; and among survivors of those who attended the school taught by Miss Judith HAWES in the old townhouse are Wm. W. TYLER, Ishmael JAMES, Mrs. DEAN, and Mrs. Ruth PORTER. 

The professions were represented by able men.  Dr. THOMAS MAXWELL came to the Genesee lands in 1796, and bought in Watkins’ town, now Naples.  He was the first practicing physician, and remained until Drs. Silas and Dillis NEWCOMB opened what grew to be an extensive practice.  Otis FULLER came in 1813, and Harvey PETTIBONE later; both were faithful members of their Samaritan calling, and the latter is yet living at Crown Point, Indiana.  William CLARK was for many years from the early settlement a justice of the peace by appointment, and all cases of adjudication were brought before him, and by him all the early marriages were consummated.  Jeremiah B. PARRISH and Hiram SABIN were the first to study and practice law in the settlement.  They presented their cases ably, and won a local reputation. 

The early proprietors having made choice of the most valuable and best located lands, began their improvements on the flats.  As the town became settled and population increased, the young men of that day “took up lands” by contract from the office of Zachariah, and subsequently his son, Charles SEYMOUR, agent of Bowne, and made the first clearings, and frequently made sale of “betterments” at an advance.  Few remain in possession of the first purchase.  Settlements began soon after 1800 in the out-parts of the town.  For local accommodation a civil subdivision into school districts was early made, and these were increased and changed until at present there are in the town of Naples 18 school districts or parts of such districts, with a various attendance upon the school of each.  “As the trustee so the teacher, as the teacher so the school.”  Of the common schools little need be said where one cannot praise; silence is sufficient censure.  The enumeration of districts will serve to locate the earliest settlers upon the various tracts.  In the northeast corner of the town on the hill is district No. 1, where Colonel James LEE first settled on lot No. 1, second range.  Richard HOOKER was the pioneer in 1811 on lot No. 2, the same range, and in 1812, John SIBBART settled lot No. 1 in the third range.  The pioneers of district No. 2 were William JAMES, Asa PERRY, Paul GRIMES, Guy HENCKLEY, and E. STILES; of No. 3, Rev. Thomas PECK, John POWERS, and Seymour GILLETT; of No. 4, Peter WHITNEY, William OAKLEY, Amaziah CORNELL, Nathan TYLER, Abijah SHAW, and Israel MEADS; of No. 5, Zaccheus BARBER, Oliver TENNEY, and Lemuel and John BARBER, who made settlement in 1798; No. 6, or West Hollow, lying on each side of the “Eight rod-way,” adjoining South Bristol, was first settled by Abraham SUTTON, March 20, 1811.  The old gentleman, hale and healthy at the age of 90 years, still resides in the neighborhood.  John SUTTON, a brother, settled on lot No. 2, 7th range, on July 4, 1812, upon land now owned by his son, S. H. SUTTON, Esq.  During the same year settlement was made in the locality by Samuel SHAW, Jacob DAGGET, Nathan CLARK, and Russel PARRISH.  The wild lands were mostly owned by Robert BOWNE and sold by Zachariah, and subsequently by his son Charles SEYMOUR, his agent, at his office in Canandaigua, on contract, at $2.50 an acre.  District No. 7 was designated, after its first settler, Hunt’s Hollow.  Aaron HUNT, a soldier of the Revolution, came out from Maryland about 1800 and purchased 600 acres of land, and thereon erected the first saw-and grist-mill in that neighborhood.  Jacob HOLDREN, Jonas BELKNAP, Gail WASHBURN, and Wm. SULLIVAN were among the pioneer settlers upon the Bolingbroke tract.  District No. 8 was occupied by Stephen GARLINGHOUSE, Jesse PECK, Mr. TALLMAN, Wm. West, Sr., and Joseph GRANT, a settler in 1813; of No. 9, were Isaac WHITNEY, Benjamin CLARK, Simeon LYON, Stephen STORY, and Dr. NEWCOMB.  The pioneers in school district No. 10 were Isaac SUTTON, Thomas BLODGET, John BLODGET, Thomas BENTLEY, William BUSH, and David FLETCHER.  Those in No. 11 were Alanson LYON, Elisha SUTTON, Charles WILCOX, Bushnell CLEVELAND, and Uriah DAVIDS.  The date of occupation is 1810.  On No. 13 there had been Dea. CARRIER, Pitts PARKER, Ichabod GREEN, Samuel STANCLIFF, John CRONK, Ithamer CARRIER, and Michael KEITH.  District No. 15 was first settled by Reuben PARRISH, Peabody KINNE, Robert WILEY; on the east and elsewhere were Nathan and William WATKINS, Messrs. CLARK, CLEVELAND, and KIBBE, John JOHNSON and Levi and Samuel PARRISH.  Passing on to No. 17 we find its pioneers to have been John HINCKLEY, Nathan GOODELL, Ami BAKER, Joshua LYON, Joseph BATTLES, and Hiram and Stephen SAYLES. 

The first town meeting was held at the house of Nathan WATKINS, April 5, 1796, the whole male population being present, and still the assembly was not large.  During the previous year the town had taken the name Middletown, from its situation midway between Kanandarque and Bath, then in Ontario County.  The first town clerk was Joel WATKINS; supervisor, William CLARK; assessors, Jabez METCALF, Edward KIBBE, and Edward LOW.  Highway commissioners were Nathan WATKINS, William DANTON, and Elijah CLARK.  It was voted that William WATKINS, E. CLEVELAND, and Robert WILEY be poor-masters, and Elisha PARRISH, constable.  The path-masters were Levi and Reuben PARRISH, John MOWER, and Isaiah POAST; the fence-viewers, John JOHNSON, Benjamin HARDIN, and Isaac WHITNEY, while Jabez METCALF was voted pound-master.  In this connection, it was voted that the yard of William CLARK be made a pound for the year ensuing.  Whether the honor was deemed sufficient recompense, or the duties were too light, or the people desired to guard against a “salary grab,” the vote is on record “that all persons shall serve the town without any reward for their services.”  At this time, panthers, wolves, wild-cats, and other animals prowled about the settlement, and made hideous din by their half-human screams and blood-curdling howls.  To reduce these dangerous visitors, it was voted to pay two pounds for each wolf or panther that should be killed by an inhabitant of said town, and eight shillings for each wild-cat.  For several years the bounty fund was voted, and hunters stimulated to exterminate these wild beasts.  Encounters were related as a fitting part of the tales of the early settlement, and the bravery of the actors was fully illustrated by details of attack and victory.  It was the sense of the meeting “that the hogs that have been wintered through may run by having a yoke sufficient and according to size,” and a final vote imposes a tax for town use of $10. 

Early residents and officers deserve a fitting recognition.  The pioneers had served as soldiers of the Revolution, and as the town advanced to an organization, Colonel Wm. CLARK, and Captains Edward KIBBE, Nathan WATKINS, and Ephraim CLEVELAND, officers in the Provincial army, were wanted to assume the offices of government.  Colonel CLARK, by appointment, was made the first magistrate, and by election was continued in the office nearly through life; Captain KIBBE was elected supervisor 12 consecutive years.  Captain CLEVELAND was widely known as a surveyor.  The notice of native-born citizens introduces J. B. PARRISH, son of Reuben, as a studious scholar, a teacher of 1808, a soldier in 1812, then a lawyer, the first member of the Legislature from Naples, and a supervisor of the town.  Ephraim W. CLEVELAND was an early surveyor, justice of the peace, and the second member of the Legislature from the town.  Lorenzo CLARK, son of William, was a justice for years, and a legislator of 1843-44.  Emory B. POTTLE, grandson of Captain KIBBE, was a lawyer, a legislator of 1846, and was elected to Congress from 1856 to 1861.  Samuel H. TORREY, Esq., was a member of Assembly from Naples in 1868 to 1869.  C. S. LINCOLN was a legislator of 1871, 1873, and 1874.  Hiram MAXFIELD, for several years supervisor, was elected to the Assembly in 1875.  Myron H. CLARK, oldest son of Joseph CLARK, and grandson of Colonel William CLARK, was major and colonel of a rifle regiment; served as deputy sheriff, was elected high sheriff from Naples in 1837, and in 1851 was elected to the State Senate, and in 1853 re-elected to the same office.  In the year following he was elected Governor of the temperance, free soil, and Whig ticket.  In 1862 he was appointed by President LINCOLN collector of internal revenue for the 25th Congressional district, and is at present engaged in banking at Canandaigua.  Calvin H. SUTTON served as magistrate for 16 years in Naples. 

The early settlers had built their houses and places of business around the public square given by the proprietors for such use.  As population increased, lands in small quantities for homes and business purposes could not be purchased from owners of real estate, and this being noted by Simeon LYON, the owner of lot No. 8, 5th range, embracing the “Scrub Oak plains,” then considered worthless, he began to sell his land adjacent to his grist- and saw-mills, and roads were “crooked about” from mill to mill.  In 1808, the name Naples was given to the town by the Legislature, and the original settlement began to assume the proportions of a village.  Mr. LYON built a tavern in 1820, a part of the old building being now occupied by C. S. JACQUES.  The mills and cheap lands attracted some settlers, but permanent business established the village of Naples upon its present site.  The village contains many beautiful residences, public and business buildings.  It has two hotels, six dry-goods stores, three hardware stores, three flouring-mills, four carriage manufactories, an art gallery, a sash and door factory, two grape-box factories, a printing office, and four blacksmith-shops.  There were four milliner, two clothing, and two drug stores, one music, two jewelry, and four boot and shoe stores.  There is a wool-carding machine and two saw-mills on the place.  There are four lawyers, as many physicians, and a population of 1140.  The appended war record indicates the inherited martial ardor of the citizens.  That the pioneers were not derelict in patriotic duty is evidenced by their prompt response to the first call for volunteers in 1812.  A company of militia was led by Elijah CLARK.  Three drafts were made upon his company during the war.  At each call the number of men was stated, and the captain forming his command in line, with martial music, would march along their front and call out, “Who will volunteer to go upon the lines?”  After volunteering, a draft was made. 

The roll of Naples soldiery in the war of 1812 is as follows: Captain Elijah CLARK, Lieutenant Joseph CLARK, Fisher METCALF, Elias B. KINNE, Levi WATKINS, Otis and Jonathan PIERCE, William DANTON, Mr. KIMBALL (killed), Mr. MATOON (killed), Mr. DODGE (died on the lines), Mr. WHEELER (died in camp), John CRONK, Pitts PARKER, Dantel PARKER, Ichabod LYON, Benjamin JOHNSON, Edward LOW, Jacob B. SUTTON, Zelotus SACKET, Captain William WATKINS (appointed paymaster), Henry PORTER, Robert VICKORY, Ephraim W. CLEVELAND, John W. HINCKLEY, Amos JOHNSON, Amasa S. TIFFT, Loring POTTLE, Sergeant Lyman HAWES.  Captain CLARK and Joseph CLARK were taken prisoners at the sortie on Fort Erie, and sent to Halifax.  They remained captive for 1 ½ years, when they were paroled.  The captain died, during 1814, of a prevailing disease termed the epidemic.  The public institutions of Naples are prominent features of the locality.  At the close of the recent war popular opinion was in favor of erecting a soldiers’ monument, and to utilize the expenditure the idea was advanced of a memorial town hall.  Meetings were called in different sections of the town prior to the annual town meeting.  A vote was taken with 250 for, and 30 against a tax to raise $8,000 to purchase a lot on which to build a “Memorial Town Hall.”  A purchase was made April 2, 1869, of 1 ½ acres on the corner of Main and Monroe streets, for a site, from James L. MONIER.  A design was made by S. H. SUTTON, which was accepted by the board, of which Edwin H. HAMBLIN was supervisor, Lyman TOBEY, clerk, and C. S. LINCOLN, E. P. BABCOCK, S. H. SUTTON, and V. O. HART were justices.  Specifications were made by A. J. Warner & Co., of Rochester.  The additional sum of $5,500 was raised to complete the work.  The contract was taken by E. W. BUCK and R. N. COONS, and the structure was completed November 16, 1872.  The building is of brick, two-storied, with a basement.  Its dimension are 40 by 60 feet, and the property has a value of $16,000. 

Naples Academy is located in the village on the west side of Main, and on the corner of Academy street.  An effort had been made in 1858 to establish a union school, and resulted in failure.  An academy was then projected, and for the purchase of a lot and the erection of a building a subscription of $12,000 was raised by citizens.  The building was to be 54 by 76 feet.  The work was let to Harry TORREY.  The corner-stone was laid June 12, 1860, with appropriate ceremonies.  E. WELLS, president of the day, delivered the opening address, which was followed by an oration by Rev. M. B. GELSON, and concluding remarks by Rev. Isaac GIFFORD and C. S. LINCOLN, Esq.  The academy has a library of 1,000 volumes, and a philosophical apparatus valued at $850.  The property, including three acres of land, is valued at $20,365.  The members of the first board of trustees were James L. MONIER, Edwin R. PARRISH, Brunson K. LYON, Shotwell POWELL, Samuel H. TORREY, James COVEL, Seymour H. SUTTON, Henry W. WATROUS, and Hiram MAXFIELD.  The principals in the institution from the establishment to the present have been Professors M. M. MERRILL; Charles JACOBUS, P. V. N. MYERS, L. G. THRALL, Charles OSBURN, and C. H. DAVIS.  The building will accommodate 200 students.  It is in a healthful and accessible location.  Its course of study suit’s a varied want, and the various departments are in charge of efficient instructors. 

The town has not been without the pleasant, instructive, and elevating influence of the press.  The Naples Free Press was the first paper published in Naples.  It was edited by Charles P. WATERMAN, and the first issue bore date January 1, 1833.  David FAIRCHILD commenced the Neapolitan in 1840, and R. DENTON published the Naples Journal in 1853.  The Naples Record was begun in 1870 by Messrs. DOYO and McJANNET, and has a heavy and growing patronage.  Communication by post routes to Canadarque via Rushville was established in 1812.  Mails were carried on horseback by Merrs. CHAPIN, FOSTER, and William C. WILEY.  Pardon F. BROWNELL was the first appointed postmaster.  Stages for carrying the mail were first introduced by John L. CLARK.  The place is accessible by steam boat and by stage from Canandaigua, by stage from Blood’s Station, on the Buffalo, New York and Erie Railroad; and the Geneva and S. W. Railroad, now in process of construction, will furnish a general outside connection. 

The Washington Benevolent Society was formed soon after 1800; it included a large number of the town’s most respectable citizens.  They were fraternal politically, adhering to the policy of WASHINGTON and HAMILTON, and opposed to JEFFERSON.  The members wore silken badges containing pictures of WASHINGTON at their meetings.  Copies of WASHINGTON’s Farewell Address were distributed among the members.  Captain Edward KIBBE was for many years president of the society. 

The first literary society was originated in the school taught by Caleb ABERNATHY, a Scottish school-master of reputable attainments.  There J. W. HINCKLEY, J. B. PARRISH, and others laid the foundation for later success.  Masonic organization has no known date, but on June 24, 1825, a grand installation was held in the meeting-house then lately completed.  The occasion was marked by the attendance in regalia of five visiting lodges, and the procession, headed by music, made one of the grandest pageants known to the early days of Naples.  Asahel STONE was senior warden, and Abner P. LYON junior warden, of the Naples lodge.   

The temperance cause for half a century has been upheld by the best citizens of the town.  The first efforts were bitterly opposed, but the influence became dominant and controlled elections.  In 1826, six ladies formed a female temperance society, with Mrs. Polly CLARK, mother of Hon. Myron H. CLARK, as president.  From 1831 till now, church and hall have opened their doors for the cause.  Music has uttered her most winsome strains, and eloquence has expressed the grandest truths to inspire a love for its healthful teachings.  The first agricultural society was formed August 21, 1857.  John DANTON was elected president, J. B. JOHNSON, vice-president; S. H. SUTTON, secretary; and H. MAXFIELD, treasurer.  Fairs have been held annually, interest has increased, and the show of fruits has the merit of excellence within the limits not of Naples alone, but of Ontario County. 

A horticultural society was organized in 1856, with a large membership.  John B. JOHNSON was the first president; M. B. REED, vice-president; S. H. SUTTON, secretary; and A. STODDARD, treasurer.  The object of the society was to promote the cultivation of small fruits and flowers.  The result has been taste in home surroundings, better selections of root and shrub, and a better culture of the soil.   

The Good Templars had a large society to reclaim from intemperance the erring, and many have been benefited by the influence of the order. 

A Lyceum society, for the education, for the education and advancement of young men having aspirations for knowledge, honor, and fame, has had enduring and profitable existence.  For over 50 years this institution has awakened and stimulated intellectual effort. 

The Webster club was formed in 1874, and has a large membership.  The village is honored by its institutions.

 

HTML by Dianne Thomas

These electronic pages may be printed as a link or for personal use, but is NOT to be reproduced in any format for profit or presentation by ANY other organization or persons.

Copyright 2006 - 2014

 

[NY History and Genealogy]