Yates County, New York
Early Settlers for the Town of Benton
From the History of Yates County, NY
published 1892, by L.C. Aldrich
pg 353 - 363
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history of Yates County published nearly a score of years ago devoted to Benton
more than 200 of its pages, the greater part of which has particular reference
to the old families of the town. In
view of this fact and in deference to a general request made upon the publishers
of the present volume by a large and influential majority of men of the county,
many of them descendants of pioneers, the local chapters of this will contain
less of biographical and genealogical record than did its predecessor work.
But at the same time an effort will be made to mention briefly as many of
the pioneer families as can be recalled. It
is not that the pioneers of Benton are not worthy of extended mention, but the
fact that they have been so fully written in the history referred to would seem
to preclude the necessity of again treating at length concerning them, and would
appear to make this volume but a repetition of the former, and therefore lose
much of its value and importance.
consent accords to Levi BENTON the honor of having been the pioneer of Benton.
In his honor the town received its permanent name.
He was the cousin of Caleb BENTON, who was one of New York Genesee Land
Company, the latter being the chief disturbing factor that had much to do with
retarding the settlement and development of the Genesee Country, on account of
the nefarious scheme of leasing all the Iroquois lands against the expressed
will of the State of New York. Levi
BENTON, with his family, came and made a settlement on lot 37, during the year
1789. Mr. BENTON was
prominently connected with nearly every leading enterprise in the town; was
frequently a public officer and one in whom the people had every confidence. His wife, whom he married in Canaan, Conn., was Molly or Mary
WOODWORTH, and by whom he had nine children: Polly, Olive, Levi, Luther, Calvin,
Joseph, Nancy, Hannah and Ruby. In
1816 Levi BENTON and his wife moved from the town and took up their final abode
in Indiana, where both died at an advanced age. The name BENTON has no representatives in the town at the
Benjamin BARTON was the pioneer in the northeastern section of the town.
He bought the 700 acre tract of Dominick DE BARTZCH and made his
settlement there, on Cashong Creek, soon after Levi BENTON’s coming, probably
during the same year. He was a surveyor, and had much to do with laying out early
roads and running lot lines. He
built, about 1796 or ’97, a large frame house at Cashong, with the evident
intention of maintaining it as a hotel, for it had that important adjunct of all
taverns of the period - a spacious
dancing hall. Also Major BARTON was
a public, man, filling the office of sheriff of Ontario county form 1802 to
1806. In 1809 Major BARTON
moved from the town.
DYE succeeded Major BARTON in the ownership of the Cashong farm, so called, and
is said to have built a grist mill on the creek as early as 1805.
The saw mill near the same site is believed to have been built by Thomas
GRAY, also a pioneer. Mr. DYE died in 1820, and was succeeded by Andrew BRUM, who
won fame, if not fortune, in having exhibited the first elephant in the region.
most numerous and perhaps the most prominent family now in the locality of
Cahsong, are the descendants of Jephtha EARL Sr.
Mr. EARL in 1821, became owner of the mill property at Bellona, placing
it in charge of his son Jesse. It
afterward became the property of another son, Jephtha EARL Jr. The latter, born in 1806, still lives in the town, in an
elegant house near Earl’s Landing on Seneca Lake.
He moved here form Bellona in 1830.
Of the EARL family, only Jesse, Jeptha Jr. and Arthur, sons of Jephtha
Sr., became residents in Benton. In
1829 Jephtha married Eliza HUTCHINSON, who bore him seven children.
Arthur EARL was born in 1810; married Sybil CONKLIN and had nine
BARDEN was at the head of one of the most respected pioneer families of Benton.
He was a native of Massachusetts and descended from revolutionary stock.
He made his “pitch” of land, as all New Englanders say, on lot 50,
while his brother, Thomas located in the township north of Benton.
This was in 1789. Otis married Elizabeth PARKER, the daughter of James
PARKER of the Friend’s settlement. Their
children were Betsey; Sally; Charlotte, who married Aaron DEXTER; Susan, who
married George CARPENTER; Otis, who married Cata BUTLER; James P., who married
Charlotte GAGE; Henry, a prominent physician who married Caroline PURDY; Ira R.,
who married Susan HANLEY; William M., who married Olive HANLEY; Eleanor C., who
became the wife of Daniel RYAL and Lois E., who married Henry H. GAGE.
BARDEN, brother of Otis, married Olive, daughter of Caleb BENTON, and had eight
children: Thomas, Ezekiel C., Levi, Otis B., Olive, Isaac, Richard, and Polly or
BARDEN, father of Otis and Thomas above mentioned, with his wife and five of
their children, Sylvanus, Milly, Eunice, Lois and George, moved to Benton in
1799. George BARDEN, the last named
of these children, married Dolly WITTER, and raised thirteen children, viz.:
Dolly, Hannah, George R., Elizabeth, Sylvanus, James, Levi, Philo, Lucy A.,
Minerva, Mary J., Martin W., Tilson C.
1792 Ezra COLE and his family, formerly of Litchfield, Conn., but directly form
Unadilla, NY came to Benton and settled on lot 113, where the hamlet Benton
Center now in part stands. Ezra
COLE built a log house first, but afterward, in 1804, a large frame building,
which he opened as a tavern. Here
he lived until his death in 1821. The
children of Ezra COLE were Matthew, Delilah, Lois, Nathan P., Daniel A., Asa,
Smith M., Sabra and Ezra.
COLE and Smith m. COLE, sons of Ezra, afterward became residents of the little
village of Penn Yan, and each followed his father’s example in that he became
tavern keeper. Their location was
at the corner of Main and Head streets, as now known.
Both were active men in the affairs of the village and town, but Smith
M., afterward moved to flat street in Benton, and maintained a tavern stand
where Charles B. SHAW now lives. Asa
married first, Sally SPRAGUE, by whom he had two children; and second to Lydia
FRANCIS, by whom he had one child, Frank R. COLE, whose pleasant residence and
large farm are located just north of the village limits. Of Asa COLE it may be said that he served during the War of
1812 as lieutenant in Captain BOGART’s Geneva company. During his after life he was ever known to friends and
neighbors as Major COLE.
BUEL was the head of one of the pioneer families of Benton, and one of the
contingent of former residents of Unadilla that came and settled near the Center
in 1792. Samuel BUEL was a native
of Connecticut. He was a soldier
during the last French and Indian War, and held a captain’s commission during
the Revolution, and served at Fort Edward in this State.
At this place Cyrus BUEL, son of Samuel, was captured by the British and
held three years in captivity, in Canada. Being
released he returned to his family. Samuel BUEL married first, Sarah HOLMES, who bore him six
children: Sarah, Samuel, Cyrus, Paulina, Betsey and Ichabod.
His second wife was Susan MORSE, by whom he had eight children: Henry,
Catharine, Anna, Hannah, Esther, Artemas, Mary and Matilda.
Samuel BUEL, the pioneer, died in 1809.
HULL was another pioneer of 1792 in Benton, and likewise one of the Unadilla
colony that during that years of settled near Benton Center. Mr. HULL is remembered as having been prominently connected
with early events; was the first school teacher in the town; the first Methodist
class-leader in the region, and a teacher in singing of remarkable ability.
His wife was Huldah PATCHEN, by whom he had eight children: Salmon,
Hannah, Daniel Sarah, Martha, Anna, Eliphaplet and Seth.
Seth HULL brother of Eliphaplet, came to Benton in 1800.
The surname HULL, descendants of these families is not now known in the
WHEELER was a settler in Benton in 1791. He
was an extensive landowner, and as such possessed all now of Penn Yan village
lying north of the outlet and west of Benham street with its continuation,
Sheppard street. The wife of George
WHEELER was Catherine Lyon, by whom he had eight children: Ephraim, and Samuel,
both of whom died in childhood and were buried where the cemetery now is, east
of the Center; Eleanor, George Jr., Nathan, Susan, Margaret and Zachariah.
George WHEELER, the pioneer, died in 1824 and his wife in 1827.
RIGGS, widower, with a family of children settled near the center, on lot 116,
in 1795. The children were David,
Benjamin, Reuben, John, Mary, Hannah, Anna, Betsey and Susan. It is understood that the surname RIGGS has no representative
in Benton at this time.
the south part of Benton, and in the extreme northern part of the present
village of Penn Yan, Robert CHISSOM was the pioneer settler.
The lands on which he located were a part of the purchase of George
WHEELER, whose daughter, Mr. CHISSOM had married. His log house stood about where is now the AYERS residence,
and was opened by him as a hotel. Mr.
CHISSOM died in 1806. His children
were: Catharine, Peter, Ephraim, Hannah and George.
CHISSOM, brother of Robert, located in Benton in 1794.
He married Mary, daughter of Philemon BALDWIN, by whom he had eleven
BALDWIN was one of the odd yet valuable characters of the town during the days
of its infancy. His occupation was
that of a farmer and miller. It
is said that Philemon BALDWIN suggested the name by which the county seat should
be called and known, Pang Yang, changed by the common consent to Penn Yan.
Mr. BALDWIN’s immediate descendants were Asa, Philemon H., Amos, Caleb,
Rune, George, Mary, Sally Ann, Elizabeth and Esther.
WOODWORTH became a settler in Benton in 1798, on lot 41, the premises now in
part owned by John MERRIFIELD. In
Mr. WOODWORTH’s family were these children: Erastus B., Elisha, Polly, Sally,
Abner, Amy, Ariel, Anna and Amelia. Polly
WOODWORTH married dr. Calvin FARGO, an early physician to Benton, to whom there
were born these children: Hiram S., Russell R., Julia, Elizabeth, Abigail R.,
John C., and Elisha W. Abigail Reed
FARGO, one of these children, married William Hoyt GAGE, son of Reuben GAGE.
GAGE, his wife Sarah and his children, Mariam, Buckbee, Reuben, Aaron and Isaac
D., came from Dutchess County and settled in this town in the year 1801.
Here Moses died in 1812, and his wife in 1813.
William Hoyt GAGE, now residing on Flat street, is the son of Reuben
GAGE, by his marriage with Azuba HOYT. The
other children of that union were: Jesse, Horace, Martha, Aaron and Reuben P. William H. was the youngest child, but one.
The surname GAGE, representatives and descendants of pioneer Moses GAGE,
are numerous in Benton at this time, and are among the most enterprising and
public-spirited residents thereof.
1792 Samuel JANYE came to the Genesee Country, and in 1797 became owner of a
farm on lot 8, where his son Samuel now resides in 1891.
His wife was Eleanor VanZile, by whom he had three children: Samuel,
Henry and William.
COLEMAN was born August 30, 1770. His
wife, Christiana RHINE, whom he married May 24, 1795, was born august 18, 1771.
In 1798 John COLEMAN bought fifty acres of land at Bellona, and brought
his family to the place the next year. The
wife and children journeyed down Seneca Lake on a raft, landing at Earls, while
the husband came overland with his cattle and other stock.
The children of John and Christina COLEMAN were John, born March 4, 1796;
Margaret, born May 24, 1797, married William TAYLOR and died in Benton; Henry R.
born October 15, 1800, died May 3, 1880 (sic); Elizabeth, born November 4, 1803,
married William BAMBOROUGH; Daniel, born May 27, 1806, killed by accident while
on wedding tour; Sally, born October 14, 1808; Charles, born April 30, 1811 and
lived and died in Benton, December 23, 1883.
Charles COLEMAN, the youngest son of John, married Mary Ann SEELY.
Their children were: George C., who died from wounds received in the
army; Charles Edward, now in Nebraska; and William Henry, who owns and occupies
the old home farm of his father, about a mile west from Bellona.
Charles COLEMAN was six times elected justice of the peace in Benton.
SPENCER was the third pioneer settler in Benton.
He came during the year 1788, and made a purchase of Levi BENTON of land
on lot 8, in the locality afterward known as Spencer’s Corners. In 1789 James PATTISON and his wife, and their daughter Lois
(PATTISON) SPENCER, wife of our pioneer, came to the location and occupied the
cabin which Truman SPENCER had previously built. James PATTISON died in 1792 and his wife in 1821.
David SPENCER was the first child born to Truman and Lois SPENCER, and
his birth, September 8, 1790, was the first event of the kind in the town.
The other children born to them were Nancy, David P., Laura, Olive and
James. By reason of his
services in the militia organizations, Mr. SPENCER became known as captain. As the civil list will show, Capt. SPENCER was one of the
presidential electors in 1832. His
wife died in 1830, after which he married Martha, widow of George WHEELER.
Truman SPENCER died in April 1840. From
this old pioneer has descended a good number of active, energetic citizens of
Lawrence TOWNSEND, a soldier of the Revolution, made a purchase of land in
Benton in 1790, and moved to the locality during winter following.
His place, which was a tavern, and he its landlord, was on the
continuation of Head street east of and not far from the residence of Thomas
GRISTOCK. The children of Lawrence
TOWNSEND were John, Anna, Henry, Phebe, Jarius and Abraham.
REMER was the son of John REMER, a pioneer of what is now Torrey, having settled
there in 1800. Aaron was born in
New Jersey, and on coming to Torrey located at or near Lawrence’s Mills on the
outlet, in which he became interested. Leaving
there, he settled where Thomas GRISTOCK now lives.
His wife, to whom he was married in 1804, was Phebe TOWNSEND.
He died in 1841 and his wife died in 1867.
The children were Lawrence T., Ann, Phebe, Mary, Jane, William T. and
Sarah. Aaron REMBER was known as
captain, from the fact that he organized a cavalry company in Benton during the
War of 1812-’15. The company was in active service for about three months.
Captain REMER was in all respects the representative and worthy citizen.
He was one of the members of Assembly from Ontario at the time of the
erection of Yates county, and was an active agent in bringing about its
separation from the mother country. He
was the first member of assembly form Yates in 1823.
In 1832 and 1832 he again represented this county.
WHITAKER was the first settler in the locality of lot No. 20 in Torrey, he
having come to the town in 1799, and there he resided until his death in 1827.
He came to the Genesee Country from New Jersey.
Stephen WHITAKER was a man highly respected in Benton; he was one of the
founders, and the chief one too, of the first Presbyterian church and society in
the town, and was one of its most devoted, conscientious and worthy members. In town affairs he was frequently called upon to fill offices
of trust. Mr. WHITABER was married
four times; first in 1772 to Susannah WHITE, by whom he had one child; second,
in 1779, to Ruth CONKLIN, who bore him eight children; third to Mary CROSS in
1793; and fourth to Agnes, the widow of Daniel POTTER. The children of Stephen WHITAKER by his second marriage were:
Jonathan, Mary, Deborah, Stephen, Ruth, Isaac, Phebe, and Ann.
Jonathan, eldest child of Stephen, was born in 1780; married in 1806 to
Mary BAILEY. Their children were
Squier B., Stephen M., Alexander F., William H., Ephraim M., Ruth Ann, Marietta
and George W. Squier B. WHITAKER
was thrice marred: first to Mercy AMSBURY, second to Lydia C. AMSBURY and third
to Mary I. OLMSTED. James S.
WHITAKER, of Penn Yan, is the son of Squier B. WHITAKER by his marriage with
Lydia C. AMSBURY. William Harlow
WHITAKER was born August 16, 1813, and died July 29, 1881; married Ann Eliza MC
DOWELL, November 30, 1837. Their
children were William H., Jonathan,
Augustus, Marietta, Frank, Aurelia, Kate L. and Charles F.
TUBBS, an old revolutionary soldier, settled on lot 31 in 1788 or 1789.
He was twice married, having no children by his first wife, and eight by
name HAVENS stands for pioneership in Benton, the representatives coming to the
town in 1810 and the years following. The
family is numerous in the town today.
DEAN came to the country in 1798, locating first near Seneca Lake, but in 1804
settling in Benton, on lot 74. He
had several sons who preceded him to this region.
DEAN was a pioneer on what became known as Flat street, on lot 39.
He came here in 1793.
Daniel and Martin BROWN, natives of Connecticut, but directly from Vermont,
located on lot 31 during the year 1793. later
on lot 78, just west of Benton Center.
and Experience (PIERCE) PECKINS were natives of Massachusetts and came to
Jerusalem in 1810. Their children
were Hannah, Elipha, David, Lydia, James, Alexander, Sabra, Elisha, Martha,
George and Samuel. Elisha PECKINS
remained in this county and lived for many years in Benton.
His wife was Martha RAYMOND, by whom he had four children: Myron,
Arabella, Charles R., and Jane. Myron
PECKINS married Sarah J. TAYLOR, daughter of Alva TAYLOR of Benton, and now
resides in Penn Yan. Charles R.
PECKINS married Eleanor BRIGGS, daughter of Seth B. BRIGGS, an old and respected
resident of Benton. Further mention
of Myron and Charles PECKINS will be found elsewhere in this volume.
of the most prominent families in the southwest part of Benton was that of which
James TAYLOR was the highly respected head.
Their settlement was made in 1821 on lot 112. They were not pioneers, but were a family worthy of at least
passing mention in this chapter. On the same lot Briggs BELKNAP settled in 1819.
In the same general locality, on lot 87, Noah DAVIS settled in 1813, and
his brother, Thomas DAVIS, in 1814. They
were pioneers in that locality.
SMITH and family from Orange County, settled south of Benton Center in 1812.
Their children were Job, Julia Ann, Mary, Sophia H., Emily T., and Susan
T. Sophia H., SMITH became the wife
of Eli SHELDON.
GUTHRIE family, many representatives of which still reside in the county,
settled in Benton in 1819.
CROZIER family, of which Adam CROZIER was the head, settled in the town in 1821.
the families whose names and lives have been recorded on the preceding pages did
not constitute the entire contingent of persons entitle to mention in connection
to the early history of Benton. The
families named were perhaps the leading ones, possible the most prolific, and
more closely identified with the history of the town, past and present, than
were others of whom briefer mention was made.
In a town like Benton, where settlement commenced in 1788 and concluded
only when all its lands were taken up and improved, it is difficult to determine
just where pioneership actually ceases. But that the record may be made as complete and reliable as
possible, it is proposed to devote some further space to a mention of the manes
of some others of early settlers in the town, but of whom there cannot be made
any extended record.
ANGUS family, of whom Walter ANGUS was the pioneer head, settled in the town in
1800. A large number of his
descendants are still residents in Benton, living mainly on the shore of Seneca
the north part of town, there were resident prior to 1804, either as individuals
or heads of families, Joseph COREY, Joseph RITCHIE, Dyer, Rilish and Artemas
WOODWORTH, Lyman and Enos TUBBS, Timothy GOFF, Elisha SMIHT, Elihu WHITE, Silas
H. MAPES, James SPRINGSTED, Jesse LAMOREAUX, Abraham FLORENCE, Stephen WILCOX,
Joseph SMITH, Richard WOOD, Isaac HORTON, James DAVISON, and others, perhaps,
whose names at this time cannot be recalled.
John L. CLEVELAND, a former resident of the county, and a medical practitioner
of some importance, became a citizen of Benton, living at the Center in 1818.
YOUNGS, and his wife Anna (BUELL) YOUNGS, settled in Benton in 1801.
Their children were Alma, Polly, Maria, Milan, Oliver and Fanny.
The youngest child, Fanny, became the wife of Samuel H. CHAPMAN. He is remembered at having been a school teacher of
long experience, and court crier for more than thirty years.
In politics, Mr. CHAPMAN was a Whig, then a Republican, but during his
later life he was interested in the cause of prohibition.
The children of Samuel H. and Fanny
CHAPMAN were: Charles E., who died in hospital during the war; Mary Jane,
now at home; Henry O., who died in 1849; Alson who died in 1889; Russel, who is
a prominent wagon maker at the Center; Eugene, who lives in Torrey, and Fred,
who manages the home farm. Samuel
H. CHAPMAN died April 16, 1885.
HILTON settled on lot 56 in 1794. His
wife Ruth, died in 1826 and he in 1828; Robert PATTERSON settled on lot 43 in
1798 or 1799; the WEED family, who are still numerous in the county, settled on
Flat street in 1808; Ephraim KIDDER located in the town in 1800; the wife of
John MC MASTER, the progenitor of a large family, many of whose descendants
still live in the town, located at Benton in 1810; the MC FARRENS came to the
county in 1806; Jared PATCHEN settled on lot 70 in 1807; John POWELL, a former
blacksmith in Penn Yan, made his settlement in 1816; the LAMPORT family came to
Benton in 1812; Abel PEEK’s family settled in 1813; the RANDALL family came in
1812; the KETCHUM family were early settlers in Flat street; the children of
Ebenzer BOYD, Robert, Lewis and Phebe, settled in Benton in 1814; Jacob WINANTS,
was a settler in Benton in 1800, and left a large family, five of them being
residents of the town at an early day.
western part of Benton was originally heavily timbered, and was known as the
West Woods. In this locality
settlement did not commence as early as in the eastern sections, and it was not
until 1816 or thereabouts that improvements were made here.
Among the more prominent of the first families in this region of the town
were the RECTORS, CRANKS, WHEELERS, SIMMONSES, FINGERS, HOOSES, CARROLLS, MOONS,
MILLERS, and others, perhaps, whose names are lost by time.
Many of the families whose names have been mentioned on preceding pages have descendants still numbered among the families of the town today, while there were others, pioneers perhaps, who lived here for a time and then moved to some other locality. Looking over the lists of residents of Benton at the present time the fact will appear that many families who were not pioneers have substantial descendants now in the town, and they too, among the most thrifty and forehanded of its people. Elsewhere in this work will be found some brief mention of persons and families who have been identified with the development and prosperity of Benton during the last fifty and less of years.
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