Yates County, New York
History - Town of Benton
From the History of Yates County, NY
published 1892, by L.C. Aldrich
pg 350- 353 & pg 364-366
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Theearly history of settlement, development, and improvement in this town was notdissimilar to that of other towns in the same region, the localities borderingon Seneca Lake. The lands here werepart of the Phelps and Gorham purchase, and being surveyed, the greater portion of the town, as at present constituted,comprised township No. 8 of the first range. This implies that its eastern boundary butted the old pre-emption line,which was the fact; but in making disposition of the lands east of the line andwest of the lake, the district of territory between these boundaries wasincluded within Benton.
Originally,before Benton as a town was set off, township No. 8, first range, together withthe land east of it, and Milo as well, were all a part of the district ofJerusalem, a provisional township of old Ontario County, organized as such forjurisdictional purposes upon and soon after the erection of the mother county. The district of Jerusalem was organized in 1789, but the town itself,within substantially its present limits, was not organized until 1803.
Thedistrict of Jerusalem was settled mainly by the follows of the Universal Friend,whose principal habitations were on the shores of Seneca Lake and the vicinityof the mouth of the outlet, and in the town of Jerusalem, as now designated,while scattering settlements of this peculiar people extended northward into thetown of Benton proper, or, more strictly speaking, into township No. 8, of thefirst range. This settlement by theFriends commenced about 1788, and continued until the closing years of thatcentury. In the meantime settlementwas being rapidly made by other pioneers than the Friends, and who had nothingin common with them either in religious belief or sympathy with the Friend’steachings. In fact they werebelievers in the Christian religion as taught by established denominationalchurches and the peculiar manner and method of worship indulged in by theFriends found no favor in their eyes. Thereforethey sought to be set off into a separate township, using as a means ofaccomplishing that end a petition to the Court of Sessions about to be held atCanandaigua; which petition was as follows:
“Thepetition of many of the inhabitants of Jerusalem humbly sheweth: That whereasmany of the reputable inhabitants of No. 8, in the first range of this town dowish to be incorporated into a town by themselves; and to prevent disputes andpreserve friendship among us, we pray the honorable court to ser off said No. 8into a town by the name of Wilton, with all the liberty and privileges whichother towns in the State of New York have and enjoy. And your petitioners in duty bound will ever pray. February 1, 1799 (Signed) GriffinB. HAZARD, Enoch SHEARMAN, Benjamin DURHAM, Silas HUNT, James PARKER, JohnPLYMPTON, Benjamin BRIGGS, William ARDERY, James SCOFIELD, George WHEELER,Nathan WHEELER, Elisha WOLCOTT, Elisha WOODWORTH, Ezra RICE, Samuel BUELL Jr.,Eliphalet HALL, Joel P. SAWYER, Daniel STULL, Daniel BROWN, Perley DEAN, FrancisDAINS, Jesse DAINS, Joshua ANDREWS, Levi BENTON, Enos FULLER, Silas H. MAPES,Smith MAPES, Dyer WOODWORTH, Otis BARDEN , Jeremiah JILLETTE, John KNAPP, JamesSPRINGSTED, William GILBERT, William HILTON Jr., William HILTON, David RIGGS,Elisha BROWN, Icabod BUELL, Samuel BUELL, George BENNETT, Cyrus BUELL, DavidRIGGS, Philip RIGGS, George WHEELER Jr., M. LAWRENCE, Thomas LEE Jr., James MCCUST, Thomas HATHAWAY, Daniel S. JUDD, Daniel LAZELERE, Dennis SHAW, JamesALLEN, Thomas CLARK, James BEAUMONT, John NEIL, James BROWN, Ellis PEARCE, HenryMAPES, Hezekiah TOWNSEND, Matthew COLE, Reuben RIGGS, Ezra COLE.”
Referringto the names included in the forgoing list the reader will observe many of whowere among the pioneers of Benton, as now constituted, while not a few weredwellers in the district of Jerusalem outside the town proper, but who, for somecause, probably as heretofore stated, were desirous of having the separationmade as the petition asked. But,notwithstanding the evident strength of the petition, its prayer was not grantedby court. However, four years laterin 1803 Jerusalem was made a separate town and on the 12the of February, of thesame year, under the name of Vernon, another township was created, including allthat is now Benton, Milo and Torrey. Thename Vernon was continued until 1808, when an act of the legislature changed thename to Snell, there having been erected previous to 1803 a town in OneidaCounty also named Vernon. For somereason the people of the town of Snell became dissatisfied with the name, andhad recourse to the legislature with result in another change, this time toBenton; and so named in honor of Levi BENTON, the first settler within thelimits of town as it now stands.
Thefirst reduction in the extent of territory of Benton was made in 1818, when Milowas erected, and took from the mother township No. 7 of range first and all theland east thereof and west of Seneca Lake. The second and last curtailment of Benton’s territory was made in 1851,by the erection of Torrey, for which both this town and Milo surrendered theirlands and the most desirable agricultural sections of them.
TownshipNo. 8 of the first range, which includes the greater part of what is now Benton,is bounded north by Ontario County; west by Potter, No. 8, second range; southby Milo, No. 7, range one, and a part set off to Jerusalem; and east originallyby the old pre-emption line. Theland east of the lien was included in Jerusalem first, and afterward followedthe various town organizations that eventually became Benton. To correct an erroneous impression that exists in some minds,it may here be stated that the main road leading from the residence of Hon. GuySHAW, north to Bellona is nowhere between those points touched by the old or thenew pre-emption line. The old linelies east of this road and as near as can be determined form maps in existence,passes along the short stretch of north and south road lying west of theresidence of James MC MASTER. Thenew pre-emption line runs into the lake just north of Dresden, in Torrey.
Thesubject of this chapter is the town of Benton as at present constituted. Among the sub-divisions that form Yates County, Benton occupies aposition of prominence, for, in point of agricultural productiveness it ranksfirst and foremost. This enviablecondition is of course largely due ot the exceedingly rich quality of soil thatextends over nearly its entire surface. Topographicallythe lands of the town may be classed as level generally, with a graduallyrolling surface affording an excellent natural drainage system. The lands of the town are considerably higher than in the vicinity PennYan, and travel between the county seat and Benton Center is necessarily up along hill. Bellona, on CashongCreek, is in one of the most depressed localities of the town, but not so low,perhaps, as in the vicinity of Flat street. But nowhere in the entire township do there exist hills or vales of suchheight or depth as to embarrass or prevent cultivation in any form or character.
Ifany of the towns of the county can lay claim to possessing Indian history inconnection with its early history, in that respect Benton’s claim is of firstimportance. In the extremenortheast corner of the town, on the farm now owned by William W. COE, theSenecas had built up a little village which had been commonly called “Cashong,”but which General SULLIVAN, in his official report of his famous expedition in September 1779, designated as “Gotheseunguean.” FOWLER, in his diary of early history, calls the name, “Kashanquash.” However, convenience and euphony have changed the name to Cashong, bywhich the stream in the locality is still designated. Here was a little village of a few cabins, but in the vicinity theIndians had growing crops and bearing orchards. At a later date than 1779, two traders, Dominick DE BARTZCHand Pierre PONDRE, maintained a post for traffic with the natives. They too claimed the lands in the vicinity. But in this narrative these persons will not be considered or treaded ashaving been the pioneer settlers of the town. In the “draught” of town lots in Benton, DE BARTZCH fell owner to No.22.
Ithas been the custom of all past historical writers to furnish at least a partiallist of town officer in connection with town chapter, and it appears to beconceded generally that the office of supervisor is as representative a positionas can be selected from among township offices of which to furnish a succession. Benton was brought into existence in 1803, but the records of the townduring the first seven years of its history, whether under the names of Vernon,Snell or Benton do not appear to be in existence. From all that can be learned Samuel LAWRENCE was supervisor during 1808and 1809, and was succeeded by Elijah SPENCER in 1810. Of course the reader will understand that names of persons may be foundin the following succession of supervisors of Benton who were residents oftownship 7, or Milo; but none such will appear after 1818. The same also be saidof Torrey, which was not made a separate town until 1851.
Supervisorsof Benton - Samuel LAWRENCE, 1808-09; Elijah SPENCER, 1810-14, 1817-19; Joshua LEE,1815-16; Meredith MALLORY, 1820; Abner WOODWORTH, 1820-21, 1831-32; JonathanWHITAKER, 1823, 1825, 1829; John L. CLEVELAND, 1824; Elijah SPENCER 1826-28;Aaron REMER, 1830; Anthony GAGE, 1833; Samuel G. GAGE, 1834-35, 1838-42; HemanCHAPMAN, 1836-37; Abner WOODWORTH, 1843; Aaron EDMONDS, 1844; Hatley N. DOX,1845-47; James SIMMONS, 1848; Alfred BALDWIN, 1849; William S. HUDSON, 1850;Edward R. BRIGGS, 1851; Henry HICKS, 1852; William TAYLOR, 1853; Isaac N. GAGE,1854; George W. SPENCER, 1855 William T REMER, 1856; George A. SHEPPARD, 1857;John MERRIFIELD, 1858-59, 1865-67; Samuel ALLEN, 1860; Homer MARINER, 1861-62;Caleb HAZEN, 1863-64; Samuel JAYNE, 1868; Henry C. COLLIN, 1869-70; Wemple H.CRANE, 1871; Samuel B. GAGE, 1872-73; Mason L. BALDWIN, 1874-75; George W.TAYLOR, 1876-77; Mryon PECKINS, 1878-79; Ebenezer SCHOFIELD, 1880-81; Bradley T.MALLORY, 1882-83; Horace UNDERWOOD, 1884-85; James M. LOWN, 1886-87; Frank COE,1888-89; James B. MC ALPINE, 1890-91.
Justicesof the Peace –Under an amendment to the constitution of 1821, passed in 1826, justices becameelective and not appointive offices; but in Benton there appears no recordshowing the election of any justice prior to 1830. From that time the justices, with date of election of each has been asfollows: Abner WOODWORTH, 1830-34;Samuel C. LYON, 1831,1835; John A. MC LEAN, 1832,1836,1847; Jesse T. GAGE, 1833,1837,1841, 1853; Edward YOUNG, 1838; Samuel G. GAGE, 1839, 1847, 1851; Robert P.BUELL, 1842, 1846, 1850; Levi PATCHEN, 1843; James YOUNG, 1843; Alpheus VEASIE,1844; Josiah S. CARR, 1848; Charles COLEMAN, 1849, 1857, 1865, 1869, 1873;George B. STANTON, 1852; William COMSTOCK, 1854, 1858, 1862; William S. HUDSON,1855; James DURHAM, 1856,1860; Martin BROWN Jr., 1859, 1863; Edwin LAMPORT,1862, 1864; Thomas H. LOCKE, 1866, 1870, 1874, 1878; Henry R. TAYLOR, 1867, 1871; Daniel MILLSPAUGH, 1872, 1876; Myron PECKINS,1876; William BEST, 1879; Walter W. BECKER, 1880, 1884; Rowland S. MANLEY, 1881;Charles R. PECKINS, 1882, 1886, 1890; George B. BARDEN, 1883, 1887; William H.COLEMAN, 1885; Emmet C. PAYNE, 1888; Ashley W. BARDEN 1889.
Outsideof Penn Yan the principal central point for trade and business in Benton is thelittle hamlet called Bellona, situated on Cashong Creek in the northeast part oftown. From the time of the foundingof the village about 1810, until the present time, the population has at no timeexceeded 300 souls; but, in a way, Bellona has been and is an important pint. Its business interests have been comprised in the saw and grist mills,the indispensable tavern and two or three stores. Bellona was made a mail station in 1813, with Martin GAGE as postmaster. He held office until 1839, and was then succeeded by Dr. Anthony GAGE. The stone mill at Bellona was built about or soon after 1835.
BentonCenter is the name of a little village having no corporate organization, situatevery near the middle of township No. 8 as originally laid out and surveyed. It is distant from the county seat about three and one half miles, on themain thoroughfare of travel north form Penn Yan, and at the intersection of theroad just mentioned with the only east and west road that leads directly andentirely across town. The firstsettlement in Benton was made east of and near the Center by Levi BENTON, whilethe lots Nos. 113, 114, 115 and 116 that contribute lands to the hamlet proper,were themselves occupied at an early day. Stillthe village had no post office until 1825, when Joel ROSS was appointedpostmaster. David BUELL succeededhim, since whose time John A. HAIGHT, Isaac N. GAGE, Asahel SAVAGE, Myron COLE,Edwin LAMPORT, and Oliver C. GUTHRIE have held the same office. Benton Center has two churches and church societies, each of which ismentioned on succeeding pages of this chapter.Furguson’sCorners is the lesser in importance of the three hamlets of the town. Its situation is in the extreme northwestern section of Benton, and itssize is scarcely greater than the average of corners or crossroads. A post office was established here in 1842, but discontinued in 1865.
History& Directory of Yates County, Volume I
by Stafford C. Cleveland, published 1873
As originally constituted,the town of Benton embrace, in addition to its present territory, all that isincluded in Milo and Torrey. It wastaken from Jerusalem, February 12, 1803, and named Vernon. A town was formed with the name of Vernon the previous year in Oneidacounty, and the inconvenience of having two towns of the same name was remediedin 1808, by an act of Legislature passed April 6, changing the name of theOntario County Vernon, to Snell, in honor of Jacob SNELL, at that time a StateSenator from Montgomery county. Thepeople were dissatisfied with the new name and early in 1810, a meeting was heldat the Inn of Luman PHELPS, on the corner of Main and Head streets, in Penn Yan,at which it was resolve to petition the Legislature to change the name of thetown to Benton, in honor of Levi BENTON, the first settlers in township numbereight, first range, and a justly popular and prominent citizen. Nathan P. COLE was one of the committee to draw the petition to which theLegislature responded by the act of April 2, 1810, giving the town the name itvery properly retains. Milo wastaken off in 1818, leaving Benton all of township number eight, and all that layeastward thereof to Seneca Lake. Itsfine proportions were marred in 1851, by the creation of Torrey, which took fromBenton, six entire lots of number eight and a corner from the seventy by anortheastward line to the lake, then including what was east of the oldPre-emption line within these boundaries.
The land between the OldPre-emption line and Seneca Lake was on Reed and Ryckman’s location, andtownship number eight was one of those ceded to the Lessee Company by Phelps andGorham. Of course, the territory between the two Pre-emption linesfell under the control of Charles WILLIAMSON, as part of the PULTNEY estate, and titles thereon are all derived from him, or from the State inhis stead, to indemnify him. Thedisposition made of number eight by the Lessees, is explained by an old documentin the hands of the writer, which gives the “draught,” as it was called, ofthe lots. The numbers in the schedule following are arrangedconsecutively and not according to the original order. The change is made for the convenience of the reader.
NAMES OF THE PERSONS WITHTHE NUMBER OF THE LOTS, ANNEXED TO THEM IN TOWNSHIP NO. 8, AS DRAWN ATKANADESAGA.
2. James PARKER
3. James DEAN
4. Annanins COOPER
6. Henry TREMPER
7. Henry G. LIVINGSTON
8. Colton M. SMITH
10. Hugh WALSH
11. Henry B. LIVINGSTON
13. Charles MC KINSTRY
14. Ezra REED
16. Bazalean SEELEY
17. Abraham CUYLER
18. Hezekiah OLCOTT
49. James BRYANT
22. Dominick DE BARTZCH
25. Morris GRAHAM
27. Peter BARTLE
28. Jeremiah JABIN
29. Abraham SCHUYLER
30. John MC KINSTRY andGarret RYCKMAN
32. Sarah REED
33. John COLLINS
34. Robert TROIP
35. Henry PLATNER
36. Obadiah GORE
38. Matthias VISSCHER
40. John MC KINSTRY
42. SHEPHERD and SHAW
47. Andrew LATTING
48. Lawrence TREMPER
49. John BARTLE
53. Benjamin CHASE andJared COFFIN
54. William RADCLIFF
55. Ezekiel GILBERT
56. Simeon SPALDING
58. Peter LOOP
59. William H. and PeterLUDLOW
60. Peter RYCKMAN
61. John BAY
63. Elark JENNINGS
64. Nathaniel JERIBU
65. Daniel NIVEN
66. Benjamin ALLEN
70. John D. P. DOUW
71. Jacob J. SHAVER
72. William HOPKINS
73. William WHITING
75. John and Andrew WHITE
76. Seth JENKINS and PaulHUSSEY
77. Peter BISHOP
78. Henry LIVINGSTON
79. David COLLIN
81. Caleb BENTON
82. John GRAHAM
83. John LIVINGSTON
84. William WALL
85. Benjamin BIRDSALL
86. Richard D. CANTLING
87. Stephen HOGEBOOM andHenry TREMPER
88. Joseph BARNARD
89. William PEARCE
90. Benjamin BROWN
92. William POTTER
96. Jacob H. WENDLE
97. Peter SCHUYLER andHenry TREMPER
98. Prince BRYANT
99. Joseph HAMILTON
100. Eleazer LINDLEY
101. Walter WEMPLE
104. Henry J. VANRENSSALAER
105. Isaiah PARIS
106. Peter R. LIVINGSTON
110. Ebenezer HUSTED
112. John MALLEY
“Blank lots, left intownship No. 8 for surveying, viz: Nos. 95, 5 and 9.”
“Lots said to be sold toJoseph SMITH, to discount his bond given by the agents for the sum of 1,000pounds, or an equivalent in lands, and taken up by John LIVINGSTON for the fivelots of land in township No. 8, viz: Nos. 39,41,43,45 and 62.”
“A disposition of fivelots of land in said township No. 8, give to Nicholas ROSECRANTS to dischargehis bond for 1,00 pounds, dues given to him by the said agents, viz: Nos.67,69,94,91 and 93.”
“Lots No. 1 and 26 in saidTownship No. 8, sold to Caleb BENTON, for which the company have credit in hisprivate account.”
“Lot 37 sold to LeviBENTON, for which the company have credit in the agent’s account.”
“Lots 44 and 50 said to bedispose of to surveyors”
“The remaining 24 lots intownship No. 8, viz: 12,15,20,21,23,24,31,46,51,52,57,68,74,80,102,103,107,108,109,109,113,114,115,116,are balloted for this November 1789, in township No. 9, to make the divisionequal as reference being thereunto had, will more fully appear. Done by us.
WILLIAM H. LUDLOW
It is probable that thedisposition of the several lots in township number eight, mentioned by Mr. TURNERas occurring in 1788, was not carried out, as it varies widely from theforegoing schedule.
To whom the balloted lotsfell, does not appear. The lots aresomewhat singularly numbed in pairs, and two lines of lots are taken togetheracross the township, form north to south beginning on the east side. No. 1 falls in the second tier of lots, and No. 2 is the northeast cornerlot of the township. The lots weredesigned to include 200 acres each, except four in the center of the townshipwhich were to contain 160 acres each, embracing together just a square mile. These were intended to be set apart for school purposes, but he designwas abandoned. The lots are said tohave mostly overrun the original survey in the quantity of land.
The earliest whiteoccupation was at Kashong, by the French traders DE BARTZCH and POUDRE, but theycould not be called in any just sense, settlers. Levi BENTON and his family were the first who came to stay and stand bycivilized ideas of life. His cabinwas erected on lot 37, the neat year after the beginning made by the Friendsnear City Hill. Dr. Caleb BENTON,the cousin of Levi BENTON, and the indefatigable operator of the Lessee Company,had his saw mill in operation on Kashong Creek, where the Tully limestone formsa cascade, in the present village of Bellona, nearly or quite as soon as theFriends had theirs, where the same rock forms a similar cascade on the Kuekaoutlet. Dr. BENTON, it would seem,either by purchase or agency, became the vendor of much of the land as many ofthe present titles rest on his deeds. More,however, are derived from John LIVINGSTON, who succeeded Dr. BENTON in thedirect capacity of agent for the company.
Kashong was the gateway bywhich settlers entered that part of the country. It was known for many years as “Ben. Barton’s Landing.” It was a beautiful point where a fine Indian village had been destroyedby SULLIVAN’S men. Some of theIndian apple trees it is said, remained over 50 years after the first settlementof the country. Major BARTON wasinterested in the Niagara Lessee Company, and agent for it. In 1787, he aided in driving a drove of cattle and sheep from New Jerseyto Niagara, to supply the British garrison and Indian department. He bought of Dominick DE BARTZCH a farm of 700 acres at Kashong. It has been stated by Major BARTON’S son, that the purchasewas made of POUDRE; but John H. JONES, an early surveyor and Indian interpreter,who witnessed the confirmation of the bargain does not so relate. He states that POUDRE was the servant of DE BARTZCH made the sale andMajor BARTON afterwards had some difficulty to get it ratified by the State, asit was strenuously opposed, probably by REED and RYCKMAN. He succeeded by the kind assistance of Gov. George CLINTON.
It has been said, and it isnot improbable, that a Catholic priest from Oswego visited Kashong while DEBARTZCH and POUNDRE were there, and held religions service, the red men andwomen of the vicinity forming the principal audience. Such a visitation, if it occurred, was in the footsteps of the Jesuitfathers who had done so much more than a century before to convert the Iroquoisto Catholicism.
Major BARTON resided atKashong about 20 years. He marriedthe daughter of James LATTA, an early setter in the town of Seneca. From 1802 to 1806 he was Sheriff of Ontario County, by appointment ofGov. George CLINTON, and was a man of high consideration in the country. He was a surveyor, and was long employed by the Surveyor General in thesurvey of the Military Tract. Ashis son, James L. BARTON related, in an address at Buffalo in 1848, he became“forehanded” and determined to build a better house than the log cabin he atfirst inhabited. He proceeds withthe narrative as follows”
“He commenced in 1796 or1797 the erection of a large square two story frame house, and from its peculiarand favorable locality and beautiful site, on the traveled road from Geneva toBath, in Steuben county, supposed it might be wanted in time for a tavern, andhad a large ballroom made in it. Owingto adverse circumstances, one of which was the failure of the contractor, helost $300, a large sum at that time. Anotherwas, that his lumber after being well dried and fit for use, caught fire in thekiln and was destroyed. Theseretarded its completion for several years. At length it was finished and being the only house for several milesaround of a suitable size for the purpose, the master workmen and his joiners,together with some other young men, were desirous of having a house warming andspinning bee. That hear he hadgrown an extraordinary crop of flax, and the young men said if he would let themhave frolic, they would hackle and dress the flax, get the fiddlers, collect thegirls, and do all they could to lighten the burden on him. He gave his permission- they turned in, dressed the flax, and then makingup 72 half pound bunches, put them in bags and scattered them round the countryfor several miles, amongst the girls as cards of invitation.
“in those days there wereno pianos nor guitars in the country, and the girls made music on spinningwheels, and the notes they practiced upon were flax and wool. The flax was to be spun into threads of a certain number, and on theevening of the party, each girl was to bring her skein of thread. Those who lived on roads leading direct, came in wagons. Others, who lived in the woods, where some of the prettiest girls werefound, mounted a horse behind a young man, with a blanket to set upon, dressedin their every day apparel, with woolen stockings and strong shoes on. They would dash through the woods on some trail, through brooks and overevery obstacle in their way, carrying their ball dress and skein of thread intheir hand. A few minutes at thetoilet put them in a condition for the ballroom. Others living only a mile or two away, thought it no great task to comeon foot. In the gall room, theirrosy cheeks, their sparkling eyes and blooming health, gave pleasure to all whobeheld them; and their vigorous systems, strengthened by hard daily labor,enabled them to dance and enjoy it, and with life and spirit would they skipthrough the dance, like the young fawns of their own woods. The supper was prepared by my mother, and well, too, from the products ofthe farm, and with the addition of coffee, tea, sugar and some light wine, wasall that was necessary or desired. Informationreaching Geneva of the party, about 30 of the elite of that place came down andjoined heartily in the pleasures going on. As no barn could hold the horses, they were picketed around the wagonsand fences, and plenty of hay spread before them. As daylight began to appear, the girls would doff their balldresses, and having again donned the homespun, disappeared for their homes inthe woods.”
In 1809 Major BARTON removedto Lewiston. The roads during thefirst few years were quite provisional and run in any convenient directionthrough the woods. When farms weresomewhat cleared, regular roads became necessary. The earliest record that exists of any in Benton, is that from BentonCentre to Penn Yan, surveyed by Joseph JONES and Joshua ANDREWS, Commissionersin 1799, “beginning at the center of No. 8, first range, running shout throughthe middle of said town 940 rods, thence south 40 degrees east, 150 rods to thenortheast corner of Robert CHISSOM’S lot.” The same day they record a road running from the southwest corner of lot58, eastward to Perley DEAN’S, or near there, intersecting a road said to runfrom Levi BENTON’S to township No. 7. Soit would appear that the Flat Street road was then a recognized highway.
Blazed trees marked thecorners and lines of lots, and finally roads were made to follow these lines,except where other routes had become so much established that they could not beconveniently changed. December 3,1799, Joseph JONES and Daniel BROWN Jr., as Commissioners, surveyed a road“beginning at the east line of Township No. 8, in the2nd range, being abouttwo miles. This road passes throughFerguson’s Corners, and was formerly called the “Potter road.” The Pre-emption road was surveyed in 1802, Nov. 18th. Levi BENTON was Commissioner of Highways most of the time till 1812, andby him nearly all the more important roads in Benton and Milo were laid out. His son, Joseph BENTON, is frequently mentioned in the record, as thesurveyor by whom the roads were run out. Levi BENTON had as associateCommissioners during the time he served, Joseph JONES, Daniel BROWN, JohnLAWRENCE, Robert DOWNEY, Thomas HOWARD, Griffin B. HAZZARD, Morris F. SHEPPARD,Charles ROBERTS and Stephen WHITAKER. Afterthem came Isaac HEDGEDS, Abner WOODWORHT, Joshua WAY, Jonathan WHITAKER, RobertBUCKLEY, John REMER, Meredith MALLORY, Avery SMITH, David BRIGGS, RobertPATTERSON, Jared PATCHEN, Stephen PURDY, and Abel PECK. These were all previous to 1819. Ofsurveyors mentioned in connection with the laying out of these roads, there wereBenedict ROBINSON, Joseph JONES, Joseph BENTON, Robert PATTERSON, Ephraim S.KIDDER and Seth CLARK.
The earliest roads orpathways through the forest, were those which led to Kashong as one importantpoint, to Smith’s mills and the Friend’s settlement , to Dr. BENTON’S sawmill and to Geneva. Dr.BENTON, when he built his mill, must have owned ones one and two entire. The mill was on the spot where the grist mill owned by George R. BARDENand his son Ashley now stands, in Bellona. He reserved the timber on 400 acres for the use of the mill, and rentedthe whole tract and mill to Thomas and James BARDEN, for 4 years, at $90 a year. The BARDENS during their lease, furnished the lumber for Mr. WILLIAMSONto build the Geneva Hotel and Mile Point house. It was shipped from the mouth of Kashong Creek and was a profitablecontract. They received one centper foot, running measure, for all sizes and widths of lumber, the wholeamounting to $4,000, a large sum in those days, which was promptly paid by Mr.WILLIAMSON in silver coin.
After the expiration of theBARDEN lease, the entire tract and mill were sold to Joseph LONGHEAD fromPennsylvania, for $4,000 and he built a grist mill on the north side of thecreek opposite the saw mill of that day. Themill was provided with two run of stone. Thefirst pair was wrought from boulders of granite found in the vicinity, and werefashioned by Dyer WOODWORHT, and by him ironed and hung, he being both ablacksmith and stone cutter. One ofthe rocks from which an upper stone was split, is now to be seen on the BuelMariner farm. The bed stone wastaken from a boulder found by the roadside, on Thomas BARDEN’S premises. These rude fixtures were used for many years and made flour that wasthought good enough in those days. Tobolt the flour was a separate operation, for which it was carried by the millerfrom the lower to the upper story. Theold millstones may now be seen one covering a well in Mrs. SLATER’S and theother at the north end of the bridge in Bellona.
LONGHEAD owned the propertyabout 15 years, in which time but little more that the mill and blacksmith shopwere added to the place. He livedin a framed house built by Dr. Caleb BENTON, which was only removed from itslocation a few months ago. In thishouse, Thomas BARDEN was born March 11, 1793. He was a grandson of Levi BENTON and the second birth in town. John PEMBROKE, an early settler, died in the same house a few years ago. About 1815, Thomas WOOD, from Ulster county bought the mill and 200 acresof the land. Jacob WHITNEY andRobert and Henry OXTOBY bought the remaining 200 acres and occupied it longafter. From this period the villagebegan to grow, and it was variously called Slab Hollow, Pinkneyville, Wood’sHollow and finally, Benton, which name it retained as a Post Office designationtill 1868, when it was changed to Bellona, the name given to the village bySamuel G. GAGE in 1818. Tradition says the name was suggested by a fierce fight whichoccurred in the place, under alcoholic inspiration, between John MC DERMOTT andhis wife, in which the lady was triumphant.
The village is located wherethe valley widens, at a point where another and smaller stream comes in form thenorth west, and the banks have a moderate inclination and where the Tullylimestone forms a cascade of 27 feet. Thereis a descent of 160 feet to the lake from this point, through a deep ravine,with some smaller cascades. Theelevation from Bellona south to the point where the water flow turns to theKeuka Lake outlet, is thought to be not less than 100 feet. The waters are found to divide on the premises of Lewis R. PECK, on lotNo. 40.
It is related that in 1791mCaleb BENTON built a barn 30 by 40 feet, beginning on Monday morning with thetrees standing in the woods. Thetrees were felled, hewed and framed, and the barn enclosed so that wheat wasdrawn into it on Saturday of the same week. This barn is suppose to have been the first erected west of Seneca Lake.
About half a mile east ofBellona, by the creek, there was a deer lick. Here, Archibald COLE, in one of early years shot John TAYLOR, supposingby the motion through the bushes that he was taking aim at a deer. He carried the wounded man to his home, where the stone house of DavidBARNES now stands in Seneca. Herehe was kindly cared for till he was able to leave, and Dr. HENRY’S bill of $50was also cheerfully paid by the man whose hazardous shot had proved so near ahomicide.
The first blacksmith atBellona, was Robert LONGHEAD, who manufactured sickles and whose shop stood in1805 where the hotel shed now stands. JosephREYNOLDS was the first cooper, and his shop in 1805 stood near the location ofthe present stone building of George G. Gage & Co. William BRIDGES was a tanner whose shop in 1808 was the building whichDr. A. B. SLOAN now lived in and owns.
John DYE, the father of anoted family, bought the Kashong farm of Benjamin BARTON, and maid it hishomestead for many years. He builta grist mill, it is said, as early as 1805 or sooner, on the Kashong, aboutmidway between Bellona and the lake. Asaw mill had been built at the same place some years before, it is thought, byThomas GRAY, a bachelor, who owned the north part of the PEACOCK farm, the nextsouth of Jephthah EARL, on the lake road. Thissaw mill was owned by the DYES. Thegrist mill was constructed by John LAFEVER, millwright, and was afterwards knownas the Barnes Mill. The decease ofJohn DYE occurred about 1820, and both he and Thomas GRAY were buried in theIndian cemetery on the Kashong bluff. Afterthis the DYE farm was sold to Andrew BRUM, a showman who exhibited the firstelephant in this region, previous to his purchase of the farm. His two sons, Alexander and John, and his son in law,Augustus J. BATTEN, came from New York city and lived with him on the farm. He and both sons died there and were buried in the Indian burial ground. BATTEN them emigrated West. TheDYE family removed to Geneva, or near there. One of the daughters married William LILLY, of the firm of Lathrop &Lilly, merchants of Geneva. Benjamin,one of the sons, died in Geneva, unmarried, a lawyer. Peter married Maria SHEPHERD of Benton, lived for a time at the millsowned by the family, then moved to Geneva where he died. Sears, another son, is now a tanner at Seneca Falls. William is supposed to have died at sea. Eleanor married a relative by the name of DYE and lives in Seneca county. There were others of whom no information has been obtained for thesechronicles.
The Kashong farm, originallypurchased by BARTON is now owned as follows: 200 acres by Egbert HURD; 325 byJephthah EARL; 100 by Arthur EARL; and 44 by Ebenezer HOLCOMB. The creek runs through Mr. HOLCOMB’S land, which also includes thesacred burial place of the Senecas, but little of which remains undisturbed bycultivation.EgbertHURD has been a resident here since 1847. Hewas born in Dutchess county in 1804, married in 1839, Eliza LACEY, who was bornin Saratoga county in 1815. Afterliving a few years in Chemung county, he purchased 244 acres of the Kashongfarm, of James SIMONS at $30 per acre. He has been a successful farmer, and has made a specialty ofrearing stock and fattening for market. Hehas commenced the grape culture and has a vineyard of 8 acres in bearing. His house is the one built by Benjamin BARTON before 1800, in theerection of which only wrought nails were used. It was inhabited by the DYE family and has since been remodeled, but theframe and siding are still well preserved. The yard about the house is fenced with red cedar posts from the banks ofthe Kashong, which have stood more than 60 year without apparent decay. Several yellow locust trees in the yard will measure two and two and onehalf feet in diameter. They havebut one surviving child, Albert R., who married Hannah, the daughter of Owen r.SWARTHOUT of Torrey, and they have one child, Egbert S. Both parents of both Mr. and Mrs. HURD have deceased at their house sincethey have lived on this place. EbenezerHURD, aged 94; Rebecca HURD, 91; Edward LACEY, nearly 90; Huldah LACEY, 91.
In one of a series ofarticles contributed in 1869, to the Yates County Chronicle, concerning the“Yates County Gazeetter,” Edward J. FOWLE, wrote as follows:
“After the earliersettlers of Benton, about 1816, there came a colony from Livingston’s Manor,Columbia county who located in the west part of the town which for many ears wasdesignated as the West or Dutch Woods. Theywere an honest, frugal and industrious people. The “Old Folks” are nearly all departed, as are most of the loghouses they built. Many of thedescendants reside there, possessing the virtues of the parents. They are well to do farmers, and good livers. Among them will be found the family names of CRANK, RECTOR,FINGER, WHEELER, SIMMONS, CARROL, HOOS, MOON, MILLER and NIVER. In the young days of the old people, the winters afforded good times forvisiting and social enjoyment. Everyweek, if not oftener, at the log residence of some one of them, the familieswould all congregate, coming in sleighs or sleds, when there would be music anddancing, story telling, refreshments and smoking, while the huge logs blazedaway in the good large fireplaces; and so the evening or night passed away. There was usually one double log house, with only one roombelow, which had two fireplaces, two looms, two beds and other furniture andoccupied by two families. And thoseprimitive times were happy times with them, with few artificial wants, with noheed to fashions, no class distinctions, no envying nor jealousies, there livesglided along smoothly and pleasantly. Theirspiritual wants were supplied occasionally, by an itinerant Dutch or Methodistminister. They were always kind toone another, at house raisings and logging bees, at marriages, in sickness andat death and burial. The large andsmall wheel, the reel and the loom, have nearly disappeared form among them, butagriculture, the dairy, poultry flocks and herds and general household duties,now claim the attention of both men and women, old and young, conducing tohealth and competence. They haverarely if ever been engaged in law suits, and never has one of them been beforethe courts for wrong doing. Itwould be hard for our friends in high life to frame for themselves a moreexalted eulogy. “
History& Directory of Yates County, Volume I
by Stafford C. Cleveland, published 1873 pg 363 - 372
pg 363 - 372
Byan act of the Legislature in 1789, The Courts of General Sessions in the severalcounties, where authorized to organize towns, and under this act, Jerusalem andAugusta were organized; Jerusalem in 1792. Thomas LEE was the firstsupervisor, and the town embraced townships 7 of both the first and secondrange; No.8 of the first range and all eastward of both 7 and 8 to Seneca Lake.There is reason for stating that James SPENCER, a brother of Truman and Elijah,was supervisor in 1797. In 1799 Eliphalet NORRIS was supervisor, and LeviBENTON in 1800, Benjamin BARTON in 1801, Daniel BROWN Sr., an early settlers inJerusalem in 1802. In 1803, Jerusalem was restricted to its presentlimits, not including Bluff Point, and the name of Vernon given to the rest ofthe old town. An effort was made at an early day to have a town erected toinclude No. 8, alone, as the following petition to the court will show:
Tothe Honourable, The Special Court of Sessions to be held at Canandaigua, the 3rdTuesday in February, instant:
Thepetition of many of the inhabitants of Jerusalem humbly showeth that whereasmany of the reputable inhabitants of No. eight in the first Range in this town,do wish to be incorporated into a town by themselves - and to prevent disputesand preserve friendship among us, we pray this Honourable Court to set of saidNo. eight into a separate town by the name of WILTO, with all the liberty andprivileges which other towns in the State of New York have and enjoy - and yourpetitioners in duty bound will ever pray.
GriffinB. HAZARD, Joshua ANDREWS, M. LAWRENCE, Enoch SHEARMAN, Levi BENTON, Thomas LEEJr., Benjamin DURHAM, Enos FULLER, James MC CURT, Silas HUNT, Silas H. MAPES,Thomas HATHAWAY, James PARKER, Smith MAPES, Daniel S. JUDD, John PLYMPTON, DyerWOODWORTH, Daniel LAREZELERE, Benjamin BRIGGS, Otis BARDEN, Dennis SHAW, WilliamARDERY, Jeremiah JILLETT, James ALLEN, James SCHOFIELD, John KNAPP, Thomas CLARK
GeorgeWHEELER, James SPRINGSTED, James BEAUMONT, Nathan WHEELER, William GILBERT, JohnNEIL, Elisha WOLCOTT, William HILTON Jr., James BROWN, Elisha WOODWORTH, WilliamHILTON, Ellis PEARCE, Ezra RICE, David RIGGS 1st, Henry MAPES, Samuel BUELL Jr.,Elisha BROWN, Simeon LEE, Eliphalet HULL, Ichabod BUELL, William CUNNINGHAM,Joel P. SAWYER, Samuel BUELL, John MUCKELNANE, Daniel STULL, George BENNETT,John BRUCE, Daniel BROWN, Cyrus BUELL, Hezekiah TOWSEND, Perley DEAN, DavidRIGGS, Mathew COLE, Francis DAINS, Philip RIGGS, Reuben RIGGS, Jesse DAINS,George WHEELER Jr., Ezra COLE.
Thispetition drawn by James PARKER, and so respectably signed, it appear was notgranted by the court. Whether it was opposed by any portion of the people,is to the writer, unknown. Aside from the erection of Jerusalem in 1803,the town was preserved in its large proportions as Vernon, Snell and Benton,till 1818, when Milo was erected. And during that time there is no recordof existence, in either Benton or Milo, so far as has become known in theresearches of this work, to show who were town officers. From records of theproceeding of the Board of Supervisors of Ontario county, it is ascertained thatSamuel LAWRENCE was supervisor of Vernon in 1808, and beginning with 1810, the supervisorsof Benton were as follows:
1810- 1814, Elijah SPENCER; 1815-16, Joshua LEE; 1817 - 1818, Elijah SPENCER
In1819, after the separation from Milo, the first town meeting was held at TrumanSPENCER'S. They had previous been held at the house of LawrenceTOWNSEND. The following ticket was elected:
Supervisor,Elijah SPENCER; Town Clerk, Jonathan WHITAKER; Assessors, Jared PATCHEN,Meredith MALLORY; Overseers of the Poor, John CRAWFORD, William ROY; Collector,Anthony TRIMMER Jr.; Commissioners of Highways, Stephen PURDY, Reuben GAGE,Joseph HAVENS; Constables, Anthony TRIMMER Jr., John POWELL, Joseph WHITNEY;Commissioners of Common Schools, John L. CLEVELAND, Nathan P. COLE, Martin GAGE;Inspectors of Common Schools, William SHATTUCK, Thomas J. NEVENS, AbnerWOODWORTH, Samuel G. GAGE, Gurdon BADGER, Anthony GAGE; Fence Viewers, JosephSMITH, Abraham TOWNSEND, Samuel RANDALL, Walter ANGUS, Otis BARDEN, ThomasHOWARD; Pound Master - Ezra Cole.
Thesubsequent Supervisors have been:
1821,1822, 1831, 1832, 1843 Abner WOODWORTH
1823,1825, 1829 Jonathan WHITAKER
1824John L. CLEVELAND
1834-1835, 1838 - 1842, Samuel G. GAGE
1836,1837 Heman CHAPMAN
1845- 1847 Hatley N. DOX
1850William S. HUDSON
1851Edward R. BRIGGS
1854Isaac N. GAGE
1855George W. SPENCER
1856William T. REMER
1857George A. SHEPPARD
1858- 1859, 1865 - 1867 John MERRIFIELD
1861-1862 Homer MARINER
1863- 1864 Caleb HAZEN
1869- 1870 Henry C. COLLIN
JonathanWHITAKER was town clerk four years before being supervisor, and after him, CoeB. SAYRE and Heman CHAPMAN, each one year; Jesse T. GAGE, 7 years; Heman CHAPMAN4 years, beginning in 1832; John A. HAIGHT 4 years; Ezra B. POTTER, 2 years;Daniel FOSTER in 1842, followed two years by Ezra B. POTTER; Jesse T. GAGE, 1year; Nathan P. COLE, 1 year; Isaac N. GAGE, 1 year; Henry HICKS, 2 years;Garret V. SCOTT in 1850; Oliver P. GUTHRIE in 1851, followed 3 years by Mason L.BALDWIN; one year by Robert S. EDMONDS; Oliver P. GUTHERIE, 10 years, in 1851,followed 3 years by Mason L. BALDWIN; one year by Robert S. EDMONDS; Oliver P.GUTHRIE in 1855; Isaac N. GAGE, 1 year; Joseph J. HOLLETT, 2 years; DanielMILLSPAUGH 2 year, then Oliver P. GUTHRIE 10 years, including 1870.
Thereis no record of the election of Justices of the Peace before 1830, in whichyear, Abner WOODWORTH was elected and again in 1834. Samuel C. LYON waselected in 1831 & 1835. John A. MC LEAN in 1831, 1836 and 1847; JesseT. GAGE in 1833, 1837, 1841 & 1853; Edward YOUNG in 1838; Samuel G. GAGE in1839, 1847, 1848 and 1851; Robert P. BUELL in 1842, 1846 and 1850; Levi PATCHENand James YOUNG in 1843; Alpheus VEAZIE in 1844; Josiah S. CARR in 1848; CharlesColeman in 1849, 1857, 1861, 1865 and 1869; George B. STANTON in 1852; WilliamCOMSTOCK in 1854, 1858 and 1862; William S. HUDSON in 1855; James DURHAM in 1856and 1860; Martin BROWN Jr. in 1859 and 1863; Edwin LAMPORT in 1862 and 1864;Thomas H. LOCKE in 1866 and 1870; Henry R. TAYLOR in 1867; James S. WILLIAMS in1868.
Previousto 1818, town meetings were held at the house of Lawrence TOWNSEND, and afterthat for three years at Truman SPENCER'S; in 1825 at Z. P. WIER'S ; in 1827 atAlfred GULLY'S; in 1829 at Truman SPENCER'S. They have for many years been heldat Benton Centre, and with little or no opposition since a part of the town wastaken off to form Torrey.
MISCELLANEOUSITEMS pg 367 - 372
Apost office was established at Benton Centre in 1825. Joel H. ROSS was thefirst postmaster. David H. BUELL was appointed in 1828 and served throughboth terms of General JACKSON'S Presidency. John A. HAIGHT, Isaac N. GAGE,Asahel SAVAGE, Myron COLE, Edwin LAMPORT, and Oliver P. GUTHRIE have since heldthe office.
Apost office was established at Fergeson's Corners in 1842. This was theold stage route between Canandaigua and Penn Yan. Edward L. JACOBUS, nowof Penn Yan, then a tailor of that place, was the first postmaster. He wassucceeded by Walter S. FERGUSON and he by Col. Samuel ALLEN. George PARTISwas the next and last, the office having been discontinued in 1865.
AtBellona, a post office was established in 1813. Martin GAGE was the firstpostmaster, and held the office till 1839. Dr. Anthony GAGE was hissuccessor in 1839 and died the same year. Frederick T. BACKENSTOSE was appointed December 31, 1839 and he was succeeded by Dr. Henry BARDEN in1841; DeWitt C. GAGE in 1844; Stephen GARRISON in 1845; Reuben M. GAGE in1849. Benjamin CODDINGTON was the postmaster for some years, and afterhim, John L. LEWIS Sr., and Amasa SMITH. George H. BROOKS was appointed in1861 and held the office a few years. He was succeeded by Charles W.COFFIN, and he by George G. GAGE, the present postmaster.
Amongthe merchants at Bellona, besides Martin GAGE, are Robert JOHNSON, William HUSON, A. J. BATTEN Stephen M. and Ephraim M. WHITAKER, George H. BROOKS, Amasa SMITH,Charles W. COFFIN and George G. and Hazard GAGE. The stone mill waserected by David HUDSON and David ANGUS, about 30 years ago. Thepopulation of Bellona in 1855 was 205, and in 1865 it was 270.
Thefirst store in Benton was that of Luther BENTON and James STODDARD, opened in1791, on the first corner east of Benton Centre. They were succeeded a fewyears later by Joshua ANDREWS, at the same place.
JohnA. HAIGHT, who was for a time a partner with Martin GAGE in trade atBellona, was for some years a merchant at Benton Centre, and he has been followedby Isaac N. GAGE, Asahel SAVAGE, Myron COLE, Edwin LAMPORT and Oliver P.GUTHRIE. Joseph J. HOLLETT, who was prosperously engaged in the place as awagon maker, was burned out with heavy loss in 1864.
Thestream known as Sucker Brook in Penn Yan, running from Sheppard's Gully, wasonce a mill stream. Morris F. SHEPPARD built a grist mill a short distanceup the ravine, about 1818. The mill did very well for a few years; but asthe back country was cleared of its forests, the water failed and the mill hadto be abandoned. Stone have bee quarried to some extent in this gully andsome flagging has been obtained, but is not of the best quality. Morris F.SHEPPARD built his residence now owned by Jephthah A. POTTER, on Main near Headstreet, of stone from these quarries.
Afulling mill was erected about 1818, on Jacob's Brook, east of the residence ofMajor Asa COLE, by Caleb and Samuel CLARK, who continued the business of woolcarding and cloth dressing several years. "The building", saysMr. FOWLE, "has long since passed away and the tuneful notes of thewhippoorwill that used to animate that neighborhood with his song, are heard nomore."
Vineyardsare cultivated in Benton with success, by Henry M. STEWART, William H. SHERLAND,Thomas H. LOCKE, and Alfred ROSE, near Penn Yan, and J. J. MEAD near Bellona.
Bythe census of 1820, Benton had 10 school houses and 13 school districts, andpublic monies for schools in 1821, to the amount of $238.43. The town had1050 children between 5 and 15 years; 957 of whom were taught in the schools of1821. the number of arms in the town was 687; mechanics, 151; traders, 5;taxable property, $304,737; electors, 633 (the property qualification existedthen); improved land 14,741; cattle, 3,565; horses, 819; sheep, 8,602; yards ofcloth made in families in 1821, 22,292. There were 3 grist mills, 5 sawmills, 2 fulling mills, 2 carding machines, 9 distilleries, which made 54,000gallons of whiskey in 1821, and three asheries. Bellona is spoken of bySpafford's Gazetter in 1824, as having a meeting house, a school house, twomills, a store, two ins, a small library, a number of mechanic's shops, anashery and a distillery.
In1800, the town of Jerusalem, which then included the entire original district ofthat name, numbered but 1219 inhabitants. Restricted to its presentlimits, less Bluff Point, it numbered but 450 residents in 1810, while Bentonhad 3,339. Hence the gain in the two towns had been 2,570 in 10 years. Benton reported three slaves in 1810, and the manufacture the preceding years of35, 352 yards of cloth. By the State census of 1814, Benton had apopulation of 3,403. Milo was taken off in 1818, and by the census of1820, there was still left to Benton a population of 3,357, while Milo had2,602. The gain for the two towns in six years had been ,2,564. In1825, Benton had gone forward to a population of 3,730. In 1830 it reached3,957; in 1835 it was 3,851; in 1840, 3,911; in 1845, 3,681; in 1850,3,456. Torrey took off a portion of the town in 1851, and in 1855, Bentonhad a population of 2,500; in 1860, 2,462; and in 1865, 2,400. On the2,500 inhabitants of Benton in 1855, those who were natives of the town numbered1,199 and 2,011 of the State, 2,224 of the United States, 127 of England, 98 ofIreland, 12 of Scotland and 13 of Canada.
In1865, Benton had 466 male citizens between the ages of 18 and 45. Shefurnished 13 soldiers to the war of the Rebellion, of whom 38 sacrificed theirlives in the service.
Bythe census of 1865, Benton had 20,371 acres of improved land. The cashvalue of farms reported was $1,753,535; of stock $199,028; of tools andimplements, $55,681. Acres plowed in 1864, 5,001; acres of pasture in1865, 4,672; of meadow, 3,759. Tones of hay harvested in 1864, 4,319;acres wheat sowed in 1864, 2,814; bushels of wheat gathered the same year,36,400 on 2,779 acres of land. In 1854 Benton harvested 22,911 bushels ofwheat on 1,765 acres of land. In 1864, 13,292 bushels of oats wereharvested from 1,475 acres of land; 22,045 bushels of barley form 1,179 acres;56,006 bushels of corn from 1,607 acres; 1,787 barrels of apples were gatheredfrom 17, 809 trees and 499 barrels of apple cider made. For 1865, only3,535 pounds of maple sugar were reported, which much have been but a triflecompared with the amount made 40 years before; 2,498 pounds of hone werereported; 221 milch cows; 103,245 pounds of butter and 4,439 pounds of cheese;848 horses; 1,101 pigs; 205,611 pounds of port, 10,966 sheep, 66,805 pounds ofwool; 36 yards of fulled cloth and 45 yards of flannel.
Bythe tax roll of Vernon in 1808, there appears to have been 12 distilleries inthe town, owned respectively by John NICHOLAS, Joseph BENTON, Gilbert DORMAN,Thomas LEE Jr., John LAWRENCE, John MIDTORN, Charles ROBERTS, David ROY, JohnSUPPLEE, Henry TOWNSEND, David VOSBINDER and Melchoir WAGENER. But oneashery is mentioned, and that was owned by Armstrong HART. One fullingmill is reported, owned by Samuel LAWRENCE. The assessors were TrumanSPENCER, Benedict ROBINSON and Ezra RICE.
Distilleriesin the earlier years were not generally large affairs, but the seem to have beenrather numerous. Whiskey was one of the great forces of the age, andalthough its ravages were quite as appalling then as now, it was felt to be anindispensable level in promoting the rugged industries by which the earlyimprovements were made. "Chopping bees,", "loggingbees," and other "bees" were devices by which the early settlersaided each other largely in getting forward work, which single handed it wouldhave been hard to accomplish, and often, impossible. Whiskey added nerveand social spirit to these co-operative labors, and without it, no such combinedefforts could then have been possible.
JohnCOLEMAN built a distillery in 1805 at Bellona, and ran it about two years. Another was erected about 1812, where Charles COE'S blacksmith shop nowstands. About 1818, another was located just below the grist mill, byJephthat EARL and S. TURNER. Mr. EARL sold out afterwards, and in 1823built another on the lakeshore. Joseph BENTON'S distillery was a shortdistance eastward of the present residence of Alfred CROSBY on Flat street.There were many of these little factories of liquor at various times, indifferent parts of the town.
MartinGAGE was largely interested in the manufacture of potash at Bellona, and usedthe old distillery building for that purpose, about 1814. He also built anashery below the grist mill, which was destroyed by fire. About 1815,George Benton & Co., built an ashery half a mile south of Bellona, on landnow owned by John H. PLATTMAN. There were several of these establishmentsnear Benton Centre, and other parts of the town, at various times. Potashwas a large product for a considerable period. It was exported to Englandin large quantities, and before the period of canal transportation, was marketedto a large extent at Sodus.
Thetown book of Benton contains the following record of the birth of a slave:"This will certify that Harriet, an infant slave, belonging to me at thistime, was born the 20th of Sept., 1822. Certified by Matthew COLE. Benton, 18th March, 1823."
Peoplenow living, speak of a time when there were 9 taverns between Penn Yan and thenorth line of Benton, by way of the Pre-emption road, and all doing well. This was a period when this was a great thoroughfare, not only for stages fromGeneva to Bath, and father on., but when merchandise and produce were chieflytransported by wagons, and a great outlet for emigration westward by way ofOlean, down the Allegany and Ohio rivers.
Amongthe early settlers of Benton, of whom no history has been traced, are appended afew names. David CLARK was the first settler where John P. SCOFIELDresides on lot 88; James SHERRATT, where Daniel SPRAGUE resides on lot 87; JohnJAQUA where William TAYLOR resides on lot 85; Allen WILKINSON, where SamuelFULLAGER occupies on lot 110; Gilbert IRELAND on the place of Daniel SUTTON, lot111; Jabez LAMB, Jasper HOOSE, William WHEELER, Clark WINANS, Daniel LOVEYOY,Jehiel GRISWOLD, in West Benton; Nathan LACEY, Elisha PIERCE, Frederic SPOONER,John GILBERT, John KNAPP, John WEST and Robert LENNOX, on the south centreroad. On Flat street, Caleb CLARK, Ezekiel NEWMAN and Mr. TINKHAM. On the east and west centre road, William NORTON, Archibald MEEKER, Andrew andHugh RIPPEY, William HEDGES and William ERWIN. Haines and Smith MAPES wereGeorge R. BARDEN and William WALDRON reside. On the north centre road,David MAPES, Timothy GREEN and Michael COFFIN. On the road north ofHaven's Corners, Gideon SCOTT, Russell YOUNGS, Solomon MILLARD, John CRAWFORD,Isaac SLAUGHTER, David SMITH, Mr. WAITE, and Isaac THOMPSON. North ofFerguson's Corners, Oliver HOXTER, Nehemiah COLE, John HALSTED, John SLAUGHTER,Joseph COREY, Timothy GOFF, Cato HOUNSON and James REYNOLDS. Where WilliamT. REMER resides, Levi MACOMBER was the first settlers and William OLDFIELD onthe premises of Lewis R. PECK.
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