Town of Victor History
History of Ontario Co, NY
Pub 1878 pg 197 - 199
Transcribed by Dianne Thomas
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TOWN OF VICTOR
"Another race the following spring supplies,
They fall successive, and successive rise.
So generations in their course decay;
So flourish these when those have passed away."
It is common to apply to this continent the term, "New World," when the traditions of the Iroquois lead into the remote past, and commingle with another race preceding them, and all is dim, obscure and uncertain. The stranger visiting the town of Victor will learn from old inhabitants, and fit in relics, a confirmation of an ancient occupation of its lands. Not only are the utensils of peaceful industry scattered beneath the surface and exhumed by the plowshare, but the weapons of war, fashioned with skill, and giving evidence of European invasion, rusted and decaying, are likewise upturned, and gathered as souvenirs of a time when the Seneca were a nation hostile to the French invader. Nowhere better than in a record of the self same tract whose history we consider could come a general answer to the question, "How came those old gun barrels, curious relics and ancient swords to lie embedded in the soil of Victor?"
The expedition of LA SALLE among the Senecas goes back to 1669, when that famed nad indefatigable traveler visited their chief village on Boughton Hill. The visit was made in August of that years, under Seneca escort, to obtain a guide able to conduct him and his companions through the unknown region lying between their villages and the head waters of the Ohio. With him came the Jesuit, eager to convert and baptise into Roman faith these leaders of a confederacy of warriors, and soften their stern usages by the melting influences of a Christian teaching. The largest of four villages of the tribe, called the DeNorville "Gannagarro," stood on Boughton Hill, south of the railroad, on the property now owned by R. B. MOORE. The earliest visit to the village by a white man was in the fall of 1856, by Father CHAUMONOT and was of brief duration. The idea of a mission became popular, and the chiefs of the tribe sent an embassy to Montreal in November 1668, and asked the Jesuits to send them missionaries. The request was gladly accorded, and of those sent, Father GARNIER located at "Gannnargarro," and under the name of St. James, established a mission, which continued till 1683. LA SALLE found the fathers absent at the time of his visit and, unable to interpret his wishes, was compelled to relinquish his present design. We offer here an abbreviated extract from a translation by O. H. MARSHALL, of Buffalo, of a journal by GALINEE, the historian of LA SALLE's expedition among the Senecas:
"After 35 days of very difficult navigation we arrived at a small river called by the Indians, "Karontagouat,: by us, 'Iraondequoit Bay' on the 26th of August 1669. We had no sooner arrived than we were visited by the Indians, who brought present of corn, pumpkins, blackberries, etc., of which they had an abundance. We made presents in return of knives, awls and other articles, with which we had come well provided. Our guides urged us to remain until day, when the chiefs would come at evening and escort us to the village. With night came a troop of Indians, with women carrying provisions and encamped near by, and made bread for us of the corn and fruit. To every cabin word was sent in the village to gather all the old men in council to learn the object of the visit. LA SALLE started for the village with 10 Frenchmen and about 50 Indians, who called a halt every league, fearing to fatigue their guests. Half way, another party having provisions was met and moved on with them to the village. When a league distant, rests became frequent and accessions of the company continued to increase until we came in sight of a great village, two leagues in circuit, and upon a large plain. In order to reach it we had to ascent a small hill (Boughton Hill) on the edge of which the village is situated. Upon the summit of the ascent we saw a large company of old men seated on the grass waiting for us. A convenient place was left to us in front, and we were invited to sit down. As we did so, an old man nearly blind, and so inform that he could hardly support himself, arose and delivered an animated speech, expressing joy at our arrival, desiring mutual brotherly relation and as such, asking us to their village, where a cabin was ready for us till we should be ready to state the purport of our visit. HE then led the way to the largest cabin in the village and gave to the women orders to provide for our wants.
"This village, like all those of the Indians, is nothing but a collections of cabins, surrounded with palisades of a dozen feet high, bound together at the top, and supported at the base behind the palisades by large masses of wood of the height of a man. It is a simple square inclosure and quite remote from water. The Seneca nation has 4 villages, two of 100 cabins each, the others 30 each and containing above 1,000 men capable of carrying arms.
"The land between the lake easternmost of the larger villages, consists mostly of fine, large meadows, with rank grass, and where there are woods, oak predominate, but scatted so as to permit riding with ease upon horseback. Vast treeless areas are reported towards the south. These lands produce good fruit and extremely fine Indian corn.
"On August 13, some 60 principal men assembled at our cabin. Their custom on entering is to take place without reference to rank, and light pipes, which never leave their mouths during the council. The servant of Father FREMIN was employed as interpreter. Our first present was a pistol with two barrels; our second give was of 6 kettles, 6 hatchets, and 6 pounds of glass beads; and our third and final present was 2 coats, 4 kettles and more beads, accompanied by a request for a captive from the "Toagenha" to conduct us to the the Ohio. The next day belts of wampum were presented, and a captive promised. The principal food at the feasts in this village, is dog. The hair is singed over the coals, the carcass scraped, cut in pieces and placed in a kettle. When cooked, each guest is served with a 3 pound or more piece in a greasy wooden dish, which caused us to feel more desirous of rendering up what was already in our stomachs, than of taking into it anything new.
"While waiting the return of a trading party, some warriors came in with a prisoner, who was placed in a cabin near our own. We went to see him, and found a well formed young man, about 20 years of age. He was uninjured, and we desired him for a guide. At dawn of next day we were told that the captive was to be burned. Galinee "ran to the public place to see him, and found him bound hand and foot to a stake. Irons were in the fire to be used for the torture. They refused to release him, and presently a relative of one killed in the skirmish at which he was captured applied the red hot end of a gun barrel to the top of his feet, and caused the utterance of a loud cry. The hot iron was slowly applied to his feet and legs, and his contortions under the severe heat caused the Iroquois to leap for gladness. LA SALLE and his party withdrew to the small village for the day to avoid insult."
This village is known as Fort Hill and is situated on the farm of Thomas TURNER, deceased. In the days of early settlement the old ditch was plainly discernible, and for a long time afterward. It is now obliterated. " The poor captive was dreadfully tortured, and finally, after two hours of this diversion, knocked down with a stone, and his body cut and pieces and carried away to be eaten. At evening the cabins were beaten by sticks, making a loud noise to frighten away the soul of the dead." Such were the people, and such the scenes which transpired upon the present peaceful lands of Victor in the ancient times.
General reflections present themselves to the mind of the reader, as he stands at this late day and views the ground, rich in historical association. Stand in the street of Victor village and review the past. "Down yonder slope, where flocks and hers are graving, grain fields ripening and fruit growing, came the army of France, - regular, militiamen and Indian. Yonder highest bluff, at whose base lies he railroad station, was the Seneca capital." There is the "high hill, surrounded by three terraces, at the foot of the valley, and opposite other hills". Farther to the right is "Guh-a-you-dok," or Fort Hill, and in the valley, through which flows a small stream, issuing form a cedar swamp, is the "twenty aspens (acres) of land," the battlefield of the French and Senecas. Signs of the conflict are preserved in lead balls, coin, kettles, gun barrels, broken swords and other like relics. The battle had been described. It reflected honor upon the Senecas and as much tarnished the name of bravery as applied to their invaders. The French, after the battle, encamped on lands northwest of Victor, now owned by Hiram LADD, William C. DRYER and Truman DRYER.
Locations and relics are are of interest to stranger and resident, and time is weaving a mist over our own origin, and comes darkly upon the old scene of DE NOUVILLE's ambuscade. The precise location of the battlefield has been a disputed point with writers; but as a result of searching investigation, by O. H. MARSHALL, the ground has been located in Victor by indisputable proof. In pioneer days BRANDT was a guest of the BOUGHTONS, and pointed out the site of the village on the flats, and the later one on the hill destroyed by the Senecas in 1687, as handed down by tradition. The route of the French army was over the farms of the DRYERS, Wm. C. and Truman, near the present Pittsford road.
Among the relics plowed up were silver coins, a silver cross, and two five frame pieces were turned up as late as 1848. Near the trail on the farm of Asahel BOUGHTON, there were plowed up. some years ago, a half bushel of iron balls, about the right size for use in a musket. In Victor's settlement, the iron supply was chiefly of the old French axes brought to the surface by cultivation. On the summit of Fort Hill, which is on land owned by Thomas C. TURNER's heirs, 3 miles southwest from Victor village, is a level tract embracing an extent of about 16 acres. Wm. C. DRYER recollected a trench and breastwork around this ground, - the former four feet deep in places, and the entire hill covered with forest trees. A tree cut on the hill in the early day proved hollow, and in the hollow space were found a number of gun barrels. The council house of the Seneca village was situated on the farm of Bruce MOORE on Boughton Hill, and, judging by relics found, was west of his house, some 30 rods form the toad. When the land occupied by the Indian village began to be cultivated, the settlers could locate the wigwams by the luxuriant growth caused by the ashes blended with the earth. Burnt corn, charred and of perfect shape, has been plowed up there. ON the west side of the hill form the village, numerous remains indicate the tribal burial place. It was not uncommon, in the days of clearing, to unearth portions of skeletons. In the repair of a fence, MR. MOORE dug through a bank upon the grave of an Indian, ad saw there, besides bones, a brass kettle, with beads, French coins, and the iron of a gun, the stock having decayed. Many brass kettles have been found upon the farm of Mr. MOORE and curiosity seekers have been readily supplied with relicts, so that but a few, comparatively, have been retained.
began in the spring of 1789 by Jared BOUGHTON.
In 1787 he married Olive STONE, a native of
Stockbridge, Massachusetts, and in the spring of 1788 attended the
council at Geneva. His
brother Enos, was clerk and assistant to William WALKER,
surveyor of the purchase, and bought form the Phelps and Gorham
company township 11, range 4, constituting the town of Victor,
Ontario County, the price paid being twenty cents an acre, the
money being supplied by the father, Hezekiah BOUGHTON and
his family. In
the spring of 1789 Jared and Enos BOUGTON
came to Canandaigua. They
paid two dollars for conveyance of tools and provisions to the
village, then little lese than an Indian post, and with axes and a
supply of food came to what is now Victor, along the Indian trail
to Irondequoit. In
what is at present district No. 2, upon the south line of the
town, on the farm now occupied by A. ADAMS, they built a cabin
fifteen feet square. It
was of poplar poles and stood near a small brook.
In June, Jacob LOBDELL and Hezekiah BOUGTON Jr.
came on with the cattle. They
had the use of two yoke of oxen and went to work to prepare a
crop. Potatoes were
planted and did not grow; buckwheat was sowed, and eight acres of
wheat ground prepared and sown in the fall. All returned east late in the fall except Jacob LOBDELL,
who remained to winter a dozen or more head of cattle upon wild
grass out form an Indian meadow.
The winder was mild and the cattle required little
attention from LOBDELL, who was a young man of eighteen
years. He boarded
with Elijah ROSE, of Bloomfield, three miles distant, and
came daily to look after the cattle.
On one occasion, while returning home at night, he was
pursued by wolves, which kept the woods on each side of him as he
ran for refuge to his cabin.
The party which
went east had left their guns, which hung overhead in the cabin.
A party of Indians returning from Canandaigua under the
influence of liquor, passed the night in the cabin with LOBDELL,
who was made the dealer of rum and tobacco to them as his judgment
warranted. An Indian
showing a disposition to make trouble, was shown the guns, and
told to remain quiet or he would awaken those up-stairs.
Morning came and all departed.
bought one hundred acres of land from Hezekiah and
Seymour BOUGHTON, where E.D. HOYT now lives, the price
being two hundred dollars, which he paid in work. The property remained in the family until recently.
He married a daughter of Levi BOUGHTON, and had a
family of thirteen children, two of whom are living, one, Levi
B., in Victor village and the other William W., in
Michigan. Jacob LOBDELL was the first supervisor in the
town, held other offices, and was a useful and influential
citizen. He said of
his first picnic, that “he was on his way through the woods in
1789, ahead of the party, and just before reaching Boughton’s
cabin, seated himself by a brook to eat a lunch,” and this he
called the first picnic in Victor.
His death occurred November 12, 1847, aged seventy six
On February 19,
1790, Jared BOUGHTON set out with his wife and two small
children, Sellick, a boy of two years and Melanie an
infant daughter, accompanied by Seymour, a younger brother,
as an assistant, to take back the sleigh and horse.
Bridging and fording streams they made their way to Geneva,
taking with them the family of Colonel Seth REED of that
place. They crossed
Canandaigua outlet on the stringers of the bridge built by
Sullivan’s army in 1779. On
March 7, they reached and moved into the cabin previously built.
Provisions brought along, and the buckwheat harvested
during the fall, lasted the family till wheat harvest. Of trips to
mill we have spoken in county history.
Shortly after settlement in the cabin, an Indian armed with
a gun entered the house, saw the bread-tray set before the fire,
and pinched off a portion of dough to intimate his want of some
BOUGHTON gave him a piece and he departed, having said by
signs, that in three days he would return.
He did so, bringing two large salmon trout caught in Great
brook, a tributary of Mud creek, in the south part of the town.
Indians often came with berries, and in moccasined feed
moved noiseless and were in the cabin before their presence was
discovered, and the cry of surprise invariably gave pleasure to
the forest visitors.
father of Jared, arrived in October 1790, with his son Seymour
and daughter Theodosia.
They built near the residence of William CONOVER,
near the station. The
place being occupied
by Peter TURNER, became known as “Turner’s Hill”.
In the spring of 1791 Jared built another cabin, where D
H. OSBORNE has his house.
Ten acres of wheat were sowed in the fall upon a field
owned by W. C. DRYER, back of the old Universalist church.
In 1792, Hezekiah BOUGHTON built the first framed
house in town; it stood on the hill east of the Four Corners, and
was on the site of a house once inhabited by a family named HAMILTON.
He also built a framed barn.
The house was used as a tavern, and was the first in town.
Here BOUGHTON kept tavern till his death in 1798.
He was succeeded by N. O. DICKINSON, who continued
until 1818. The old
frames of house and barn are yet in use, the house being now a
sheep barn owned by W. D. DICKINSON.
In 1792 the lad
was divided; the “Hill” fell to Jared and contained
five hundred and thirteen acres and he owned in all about fourteen
hundred acres. In the
fall of 1791 Jared moved upon what has since been know as
the “Jared BARTON farm”, and erected a cabin near the
site of the present frame house.
In the spring of 1792, Jared got out timber, framed
and raised a barn which, for lack of lumber stood in the frame for
a year. It had been
intended to erect a saw mill, but the mill irons were not
obtained, and no other mill was available.
In the fall of 1793 they built a saw mill on a small stream
in “Hog Hollow”, which acquired its title from the large
number of hogs fatted in that place on the refuse matter from a
distillery once in operation there.
Mr. BOUGHTON put up a framed house in 1794-95, the
second framed house in town.
The work was done by Phineas TAYLOR, who was two
years in building it and was paid in land receiving one hundred
acres, which included parts of N. KETCHAM and the “BALL”
farms. In 1799 Jared
and family moved to North Carolina, engaged in lumbering; returned
in ten years to Victor. The
first birth in the town was that of Frederick, son of Jared,
on June 1, 1791. He
died February 14, 1860 in Pittsford, NY. Lyman, another son, was born Sept 6, 1793 and died May 2,
1841 in Michigan. Another
member of this leading family was Claudius Victor BOUGHTON,
son of Hezekiah, Jr., after whom the town was named.
The first school
house in the town was built on Boughton Hill, on land set apart by
them as early as 1790 for a school house and for a cemetery and
the intention has been carried out up to the present.
One of the former school masters was Daniel S.
DICKINSON. Asa HECOX
of Connecticut, was in the county soon after Oliver PHELPS.
He wintered in 1788-89 on the Genesee.
In 1790 he brought his family, farmed some years and became
a tavern keeper. He
was the first postmaster in the town, an early magistrate, and a
judge of Ontario County. He
died in 1829. A son, Vine
W. HECOX, was drafted in 1812 and killed at the battle of
Queenstown by a wounded Indian, who fired from behind a log, as Sergeant
HECOX came and shot him through the head.
Abijah WILLIAMS came to Victor in 1790, and bought
land in the north part of the town, but soon sold, and purchased
what is now composed in the farm of Walter
NORTON, R. B.
MOORE and a part of Mr. GREEN’S land.
The first dwelling was of log material, located on NORTON’S
farm. He was by
trade a carpenter, and soon had a frame house on the farm of R.
B. MOORE, where he passed his life, dying in 1842, aged
eighty-five. He had a
family of six children. Two
sons, Robert and James, resided in town.
A daughter, Lucinda, married Asahel MOORE,
and raised fourteen children.
Nicholas SMITH came in 1790 and settled near where A.
ADAMS now owns. He
was the first collector of taxes, elected in 1796.
Ezra WILMARTH and family moved in during 1796 and
purchased one hundred and sixty acres of land, a portion of which
is now owned by J. BENNETT. They had three hundred and forty dollars in silver to pay for
their land. Sale was
made in 1816 to Samuel GILLIS, a son-in-law, and WILMARTH
moved to Boughton Hill, where in 1815, he had begun to build a
brick house, which was finished and opened as an inn on Christmas,
1816. The building
was used as a tavern for eight years by the builder and has since
been used as a dwelling. Hezekiah
BOUGHTON, Jr., brother to Jared, set out for this locality
from Massachusetts with a family.
He fell sick and died on the way; the family came on and
located north of N. KETCHAM’S place.
Reuben PARMELE, a Presbyterian minister in Victor,
arrived in 1798, and preached for a period of a quarter-century,
and was a man of great value in the community.
Ebenzer BEMENT bought where O’DOUGHERTY resides,
and was of the early blacksmiths. He married one of the BRACE family, and finally
moved away. A son, Harvey,
carried on a shop at the old place.
Josiah and Jabez MOREHOUSE were of the early
settlers near the town line; the former was a captain of militia
and both held town offices. Peter PERRY once lived upon the property of N.
Thomas BEACH purchased in 1817, of E. BEMENT an
unfinished dwelling, now in use by William GALLUP, employed Jeremiah HAWKINS to put it in good repair, and moved in.
The house was afterwards rented to Mr. GULLY and
kept as a tavern. Dr.
BEACH came to Victor in 1808, and settled on the farm owned by B.F. TIMMERMAN. He
lost two sons during the epidemic, which raged in this locality in
1813. The doctor was kept constantly at work, for the sick people
followed him form house to house begging assistance. He could get rest only by halting in the woods, tying his
horse, using saddle for pillow, placing his alarm watch by his
head, and on being awakened proceeding upon his journey.
He was an excellent physician, and was in demand from
Bristol to Lake Ontario. Many
incidents are told of perils in the forest by night, and kind acts
to the poor. He died
December 24, 1840, and his remains rest in the family vault at
SEYMOUR, a tailor, lived and died on the farm owned by S.
S. NORTON. Elisha
BRACE came about 1793, from Massachusetts, and located on
Brace street, where T. MC MAHON lives; he raised a large
a son, was a resident farther north.
He was a major in the militia, and present just prior to
the burning of Buffalo. The
only descendant of the family, resident of town is F.B. BRACE,
a merchant in Victor village. Herman BRACE, brother of Elisha,
lived in the same neighborhood.
John and Reuben located north on the road;
the latter kept a tavern at Hathaway’s Corners.
John became a pork-packer, and removing to Canandaigua,
followed the business there till his death.
Joseph BRACE, another brother, purchased the
property farther north, where Mr. STEWART lives; here he
died, and most of his family became residents of Lockport.
Joel BRACE was said to have been the first
practicing physician in town and hand an extensive practice.
It is related that the wife of Elisha BRACE rode on
horseback to the Cornusa Mill, north of their house, with flour,
and there baked bread, there being no oven nearer.
On her return one evening, with her children and freshly
baked bread, a number of wolves followed her so closely that she
was obliged to feed the loaves one by one, and improve each delay
to hurry homeward. She
reached her house in safety, but with the loss of her day’s
District No. 1 is
the center of many converging roads and contains the village of
Victor. In 1798 the
site of the village contained two log houses, owned and occupied
by Captain A. HAWLEY, Sr., and his son James.
The captain’s house stood back of GALLUP’S store,
and his ownership extended over the principal portion of the
village site. James
HAWLEY kept tavern in his cabin, which stood where now is the
residence of Dr. Charles BALL.
It was a double-log house, having but one story and two
rooms. One was used
for the bar, the other for the tavern proper.
Rufus DRYER was the second inn-keeper. Toward the depot lived Peter TURNER and Isaac ROOT.
The latter owned a farm of one hundred acres; he sold
twenty to Dr. BEACH and the reaming eighty to Aldin COVILLE. His life
was passed in the village.
TURNER’S cabin was near the depot where William
CONOVER lives. He
also owned one hundred acres.
William BUSHNELL became its purchaser, and his
son-in-law, D.H. OSBORN, is the present owner.
Israel M. BLOOD came in 1790, by boat, up Mud creek,
and temporarily found work with Eber NORTON, of Bloomfield.
He moved his farm now held by W.F. HAWKINS, where he
finally died far advanced in years.
A son, Stephen, is a resident of the town.
Samuel BUGNEAN lived south of BLOOD.
A man named ABBOTT had previously occupied the
place, and dying, BLOOD married his widow and both died
upon the farm. Joel
HOWE was the occupant of a log cabin, and the owner of one
hundred acres, upon which he made a small clearing. He exchanged land with Norman BRACE, who exchanged
with J. PERKINS, who held the place till his demise; the
farm descended to Ansil PERKINS, and is now the home of Hiram
LADD, whose residence is a great improvement upon the original
habitation of HOWE. Michael
BROOKS a tailor, continued his trade in his residence, which
stood on a six acre patch of ground, now owned by Porter RAWSON.
Tailoring was then done in families, and he went from house
to house, cutting out garments, which were made by the women. He was skillful and economic of cloth, and gave general
purchased of Peter SMITH, father of Gerrit SMITH of
Madison county, a farm in the west part of the district.
The next year, 1813, he moved his family on his purchase,
and began to clear his land.
He held various offices of trust, all of which were
honestly conducted. He
was made a magistrate by appointment, and later by election, and
served continuously twenty five years.
He was supervisor, member of Assembly, and an associate
judge. Upon the
homestead, now the property of his son, A. P. RAWSON, he
died March 4, 1874 in his ninety third year.
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