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.

 

 

 

 

 

 [Two added excerpt from a news article ONTARIO COUNTY TIMES  July 30, 1913  Front Page  col.  2   
 THE VICTOR CENTENNIAL  -   HISTORY OF THE VILLAGE BETWEEN THE HILLS
 
THE FIRST SETTLERS -  Most of the old landmarks have disappeared--The Churches--An Abandoned Chapel--Leading Business and Professional Men--Manufacturing
Interests
John W. Van Denbergh, author of the History of Victor printed in The Times some years ago, the most complete and accurate history of the town ever published.
In the front lawn of Mr. VanDenbergh's home is to be dedicated, during Centennial Week, a Boulder Monument marking the scene of De Nonville's battle with the Indians in 1687.]

 

[1913  -  Dedication of the Monument
(A Photo Accompanied This Article)
The dedication of the boulder monument on the historic De Nonville - Seneca battlefield took place at 2 o'clock. Singing by a chorus of Victor vocalists was followed by an address on "The Senecas and the Colonists", by Prof. Arthur C. Parker of Albany, State Archeologist, who said:
Three hundred years ago this region was the territory of the Seneca Nation. Though their country was termed a wilderness, yet it was governed by a definite set of laws, all drafted in accordance with a regular constitution. This territory was a part of one of the five divisions of the Iroquois Confederacy. Its national name to the Indian geographer was Nundawa-ga-geh, though the French often called it Son-non-ton-on.
The men who owned this region before you were not lawless vagabonds, they were members of one of the greatest native empires ever conceived. The men who fought your fathers were not savages, they were patriots. Their story is worth the telling and your ears should not grow weary in listening to the thrilling romance that dwells in the history.]

 

 

 

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.  

 

Early settlement 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. 

LOBDELL 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 years. 

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 bread.  Mrs. 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. 

Hezekiah, 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. TURNER.  Dr. 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 Victor.  Ira 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 family.  William, 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 labor. 

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 satisfaction.  

Samuel RAWSON 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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