Shortsville Village History 

History of Ontario Co, NY, Pub 1878   

Pgs.  179 - 180


Transcribed by Dianne Thomas 

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In this village an enterprise in manufacture has constantly turned attention thither, and eventually the place promises to be one of considerable importance.  The name Short's Mills was first given after Theophilius SHORT, on Honeoye.  A house and mill were built in 1804.  A flouring-mill was put up on the west bank of the outlet, and a saw-mill on the site of Silas PETTER's mill.  In 1822, Mr. SHORT put up a second flour-mill north of the first one.  A woolen-mill had been built in 1818 by William GRIMES.  A blast furnace was put up in 1819, and a pottery was started, on a small scale; both have been abandoned.  At preset there are seven mills in the village and these have a roll of one hundred and fifty operatives.  A paper-mill, started in 1817, is now owned by James JONES.  The Star Paper Company has two mills, - one for the manufacture of brown, the other of white paper; this latter mill stands on the side of the old grist-mill originally built by Mr. SHORT.  The Empire Grain Drill manufactory of H. L & C. P. BROWN, also built on the old Short's property, was originated by them in 1855. 

MANUFACTURES OF SHORTSVILLE - Hiram L. & Calvin P. BROWN established their business in the old foundry, now occupied by the new shop, and engaged wholly in the manufacture of grain-drills.  The first year's labor, unassisted, resulted in a product of thirty drills, known as the " Pioneer Force-Feed Drill," patented several years previously.  Various improvements have resulted in the machine now christened the "Empire".  In 1856 thirty drills were built, and in 1876 seven hundred and eighty.  The highest number of drills made in a given years was one thousand one hundred.  Average yearly product three hundred and fifty.  Total for twenty years, seven thousand.  There is, in addition, a generally foundry business.  In 1876 thirty-five men have been employed.  The largest force at any one time was forty-five men.  The value of product in 1856 was two thousand dollars; in 1876, fifty thousand dollars.  Shortsville has grown form a population of one hundred and fifty in 1856 to six hundred.  Twenty-eight of eighty-three dwellings erected were put up by the Messrs. BROWN or by their employees. 

The Star Paper Company was originated as joint-stock enterprise in 1867.  During the year previous, Dr. J.P.H. DEMING had purchased the distillery site and the old Short's mills, ruined by fire in 1862, and found ample volume of water for his purpose.  The capital stock subscribed was fifty thousand dollars.  The first officers were Dr. DEMING, as president; Stephen T. SEYMOUR, secretary and treasurer; and the board of directors, George W. CUYLER, V.P. CRANDALL, Frank W. WILLIAMS, C. H. ROGERS, J. P. H. DEMING, James W. RYAN, Steven BREWSTER, and Augustus WILLSON.  The official list is changed only by the death of G. W. CUYLER, the succession of F. W. WILLIAMS to president, and Mr. DEMING has become general business superintendent.  On organizing the "Star Mill" was begun; it was mainly of stone and deemed fire-proof.  Dimensions are one hundred and fifty by seventy-five feet, and three stories.  A straw barn has a capacity of two hundred tons.  Manufacture is almost entirely confined to tea and printing-paper.  In 1871 the old woolen-mill was purchased, and does duty as the "Diamond" paper-mill.  To residents they are known as the upper and lower mills.  An iron railway, a furlong in length, unites them.  The Diamond mill manufactures straw and rag wrapping, bogus manilla, and hardware-paper.  Upwards of one hundred and thirty thousand dollars have been laid out in buildings and machinery.  Sales for 1876 have exceeded one hundred thousand dollars.  With former higher prices, the Star mill alone made in one year ninety-nine thousand seven hundred and fifty dollars' worth of paper, at wholesale rates.  The gross weight of material consumed in manufacture this year was two thousand eight hundred and twenty-nine tons.  The payroll contains fifty-three names, and disbursements to employees were eighteen thousand five hundred dollars. 

Adjoining the works of the Empire Drill Company is the manufactory of the Champion Hay and Grain Unloader, the invention of G. VAN SICKLE, Esq., of Shortsville.  Mr. VAN SICKLE is the sole proprietor of this new and handy implement, a decided advance upon the now old-fashioned horse-fork.  The skill which originates and the energy which brings a useful invention before the public are in themselves a prospective fortune; and the perfect adapt ion of VAN SICKLE's "Unloader" to its work is calculated to bring it into general demand.  There are also in the village the plow and agricultural implement works of H. C. SHEFFER & CO., a plaster-mill, and a machine-shop.  In addition to its manufactures, Shortsville contains several store and shops, a hotel, a commodious and handsome school-house, and a fine church belonging to the Presbyterians.  The population number between four and five hundred, and there is every prospect of the town continuing to improve.

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