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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Ahistory of Yates County published nearly a score of years ago devoted to Bentonmore than 200 of its pages, the greater part of which has particular referenceto the old families of the town.  Inview of this fact and in deference to a general request made upon the publishersof 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 containless 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 ofthe pioneer families as can be recalled.  Itis not that the pioneers of Benton are not worthy of extended mention, but thefact that they have been so fully written in the history referred to would seemto preclude the necessity of again treating at length concerning them, and wouldappear to make this volume but a repetition of the former, and therefore losemuch of its value and importance. 

Commonconsent 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 LandCompany, the latter being the chief disturbing factor that had much to do withretarding the settlement and development of the Genesee Country, on account ofthe nefarious scheme of leasing all the Iroquois lands against the expressedwill of the State of New York.  LeviBENTON, with his family, came and made a settlement on lot 37, during the year1789.   Mr. BENTON wasprominently connected with nearly every leading enterprise in the town; wasfrequently a public officer and one in whom the people had every confidence.  His wife, whom he married in Canaan, Conn., was Molly or MaryWOODWORTH, and by whom he had nine children: Polly, Olive, Levi, Luther, Calvin,Joseph, Nancy, Hannah and Ruby.  In1816 Levi BENTON and his wife moved from the town and took up their final abodein Indiana, where both died at an advanced age.  The name BENTON has no representatives in the town at thepresent time.   

MajorBenjamin BARTON was the pioneer in the northeastern section of the town. He bought the 700 acre tract of Dominick DE BARTZCH and made hissettlement there, on Cashong Creek, soon after Levi BENTON’s coming, probablyduring the same year.  He was a surveyor, and had much to do with laying out earlyroads and running lot lines.  Hebuilt, about 1796 or ’97, a large frame house at Cashong, with the evidentintention of maintaining it as a hotel, for it had that important adjunct of alltaverns of the period  - a spaciousdancing hall.  Also Major BARTON wasa public, man, filling the office of sheriff of Ontario county form 1802 to1806.  In 1809 Major BARTON moved from the town.  

JohnDYE succeeded Major BARTON in the ownership of the Cashong farm, so called, andis 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 ThomasGRAY, also a pioneer.  Mr. DYE died in 1820, and was succeeded by Andrew BRUM, whowon fame, if not fortune, in having exhibited the first elephant in the region. 

Themost numerous and perhaps the most prominent family now in the locality ofCahsong, are the descendants of Jephtha EARL Sr.  Mr. EARL in 1821, became owner of the mill property at Bellona, placingit in charge of his son Jesse.  Itafterward became the property of another son, Jephtha EARL Jr.  The latter, born in 1806, still lives in the town, in anelegant 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 JephthaSr., became residents in Benton.  In1829 Jephtha married Eliza HUTCHINSON, who bore him seven children. Arthur EARL was born in 1810; married Sybil CONKLIN and had ninechildren.   

OtisBARDEN 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 JamesPARKER of the Friend’s settlement.  Theirchildren were Betsey; Sally; Charlotte, who married Aaron DEXTER; Susan, whomarried George CARPENTER; Otis, who married Cata BUTLER; James P., who marriedCharlotte GAGE; Henry, a prominent physician who married Caroline PURDY; Ira R.,who married Susan HANLEY; William M., who married Olive HANLEY; Eleanor C., whobecame the wife of Daniel RYAL and Lois E., who married Henry H. GAGE. 

ThomasBARDEN, brother of Otis, married Olive, daughter of Caleb BENTON, and had eightchildren: Thomas, Ezekiel C., Levi, Otis B., Olive, Isaac, Richard, and Polly orMary. 

ThomasBARDEN, father of Otis and Thomas above mentioned, with his wife and five oftheir children, Sylvanus, Milly, Eunice, Lois and George, moved to Benton in1799.  George BARDEN, the last namedof 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. 

In1792 Ezra COLE and his family, formerly of Litchfield, Conn., but directly formUnadilla, NY came to Benton and settled on lot 113, where the hamlet BentonCenter now in part stands.  EzraCOLE built a log house first, but afterward, in 1804, a large frame building,which he opened as a tavern.  Herehe lived until his death in 1821.  Thechildren of Ezra COLE were Matthew, Delilah, Lois, Nathan P., Daniel A., Asa,Smith M., Sabra and Ezra. 

AsaCOLE and Smith m. COLE, sons of Ezra, afterward became residents of the littlevillage of Penn Yan, and each followed his father’s example in that he becametavern keeper.  Their location wasat the corner of Main and Head streets, as now known. Both were active men in the affairs of the village and town, but SmithM., afterward moved to flat street in Benton, and maintained a tavern standwhere Charles B. SHAW now lives.  Asamarried first, Sally SPRAGUE, by whom he had two children; and second to LydiaFRANCIS, by whom he had one child, Frank R. COLE, whose pleasant residence andlarge farm are located just north of the village limits.  Of Asa COLE it may be said that he served during the War of1812 as lieutenant in Captain BOGART’s Geneva company.  During his after life he was ever known to friends andneighbors as Major COLE. 

SamuelBUEL was the head of one of the pioneer families of Benton, and one of thecontingent of former residents of Unadilla that came and settled near the Centerin 1792.  Samuel BUEL was a nativeof Connecticut.  He was a soldierduring the last French and Indian War, and held a captain’s commission duringthe Revolution, and served at Fort Edward in this State. At this place Cyrus BUEL, son of Samuel, was captured by the British andheld three years in captivity, in Canada.  Beingreleased he returned to his family.  Samuel BUEL married first, Sarah HOLMES, who bore him sixchildren: 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. 

EliphaletHULL was another pioneer of 1792 in Benton, and likewise one of the Unadillacolony that during that years of settled near Benton Center.  Mr. HULL is remembered as having been prominently connectedwith early events; was the first school teacher in the town; the first Methodistclass-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 thetown. 

GeorgeWHEELER was a settler in Benton in 1791.  Hewas an extensive landowner, and as such possessed all now of Penn Yan villagelying north of the outlet and west of Benham street with its continuation,Sheppard street.  The wife of GeorgeWHEELER 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, eastof the Center; Eleanor, George Jr., Nathan, Susan, Margaret and Zachariah. George WHEELER, the pioneer, died in 1824 and his wife in 1827. 

PhilipRIGGS, 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 representativein Benton at this time. 

Inthe south part of Benton, and in the extreme northern part of the presentvillage of Penn Yan, Robert CHISSOM was the pioneer settler. The lands on which he located were a part of the purchase of GeorgeWHEELER, 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 childrenwere: Catharine, Peter, Ephraim, Hannah and George.  

MosesCHISSOM, brother of Robert, located in Benton in 1794. He married Mary, daughter of Philemon BALDWIN, by whom he had elevenchildren.   

PhilemonBALDWIN was one of the odd yet valuable characters of the town during the daysof its infancy.  His occupation wasthat of a farmer and miller.   Itis said that Philemon BALDWIN suggested the name by which the county seat shouldbe 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. 

ElishaWOODWORTH became a settler in Benton in 1798, on lot 41, the premises now inpart owned by John MERRIFIELD.  InMr. WOODWORTH’s family were these children: Erastus B., Elisha, Polly, Sally,Abner, Amy, Ariel, Anna and Amelia.  PollyWOODWORTH married dr. Calvin FARGO, an early physician to Benton, to whom therewere born these children: Hiram S., Russell R., Julia, Elizabeth, Abigail R.,John C., and Elisha W.  Abigail ReedFARGO, one of these children, married William Hoyt GAGE, son of Reuben GAGE. 

MosesGAGE, his wife Sarah and his children, Mariam, Buckbee, Reuben, Aaron and IsaacD., 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 ReubenGAGE, by his marriage with Azuba HOYT.  Theother 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 andpublic-spirited residents thereof. 

In1792 Samuel JANYE came to the Genesee Country, and in 1797 became owner of afarm 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. 

JohnCOLEMAN was born August 30, 1770.  Hiswife, 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 broughthis family to the place the next year.  Thewife and children journeyed down Seneca Lake on a raft, landing at Earls, whilethe 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 whileon wedding tour; Sally, born October 14, 1808; Charles, born April 30, 1811 andlived 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 thearmy; Charles Edward, now in Nebraska; and William Henry, who owns and occupiesthe old home farm of his father, about a mile west from Bellona. Charles COLEMAN was six times elected justice of the peace in Benton. 

TrumanSPENCER was the third pioneer settler in Benton. He came during the year 1788, and made a purchase of Levi BENTON of landon 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 thecabin 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, andhis 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 andJames.   By reason of hisservices in the militia organizations, Mr. SPENCER became known as captain.  As the civil list will show, Capt. SPENCER was one of thepresidential electors in 1832.  Hiswife died in 1830, after which he married Martha, widow of George WHEELER. Truman SPENCER died in April 1840.  Fromthis old pioneer has descended a good number of active, energetic citizens ofYates County. 

CaptainLawrence TOWNSEND, a soldier of the Revolution, made a purchase of land inBenton in 1790, and moved to the locality during winter following. His place, which was a tavern, and he its landlord, was on thecontinuation of Head street east of and not far from the residence of ThomasGRISTOCK.  The children of LawrenceTOWNSEND were John, Anna, Henry, Phebe, Jarius and Abraham. 

AaronREMER was the son of John REMER, a pioneer of what is now Torrey, having settledthere in 1800.  Aaron was born inNew Jersey, and on coming to Torrey located at or near Lawrence’s Mills on theoutlet, in which he became interested.  Leavingthere, 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. andSarah.  Aaron REMBER was known ascaptain, from the fact that he organized a cavalry company in Benton during theWar 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 theerection of Yates county, and was an active agent in bringing about itsseparation from the mother country.  Hewas the first member of assembly form Yates in 1823. In 1832 and 1832 he again represented this county.  

StephenWHITAKER was the first settler in the locality of lot No. 20 in Torrey, hehaving 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 thefounders, and the chief one too, of the first Presbyterian church and society inthe town, and was one of its most devoted, conscientious and worthy members.  In town affairs he was frequently called upon to fill officesof trust.  Mr. WHITABER was marriedfour 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 in1793; 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 toMary BAILEY.  Their children wereSquier B., Stephen M., Alexander F., William H., Ephraim M., Ruth Ann, Mariettaand George W.  Squier B. WHITAKERwas thrice marred: first to Mercy AMSBURY, second to Lydia C. AMSBURY and thirdto Mary I. OLMSTED.  James S.WHITAKER, of Penn Yan, is the son of Squier B. WHITAKER by his marriage withLydia C. AMSBURY.  William HarlowWHITAKER was born August 16, 1813, and died July 29, 1881; married Ann Eliza MCDOWELL, November 30, 1837.  Theirchildren were William  H., Jonathan,Augustus, Marietta, Frank, Aurelia, Kate L. and Charles F. 

EnosTUBBS, 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 byhis second. 

Thename HAVENS stands for pioneership in Benton, the representatives coming to thetown in 1810 and the years following.  Thefamily is numerous in the town today. 

BenjaminDEAN came to the country in 1798, locating first near Seneca Lake, but in 1804settling in Benton, on lot 74.  Hehad several sons who preceded him to this region. 

PerleDEAN was a pioneer on what became known as Flat street, on lot 39. He came here in 1793.  

Elisha,Daniel and Martin BROWN, natives of Connecticut, but directly from Vermont,located on lot 31 during the year 1793.  lateron lot 78, just west of Benton Center. 

Davidand Experience (PIERCE) PECKINS were natives of Massachusetts and came toJerusalem in 1810.  Their childrenwere Hannah, Elipha, David, Lydia, James, Alexander, Sabra, Elisha, Martha,George and Samuel.  Elisha PECKINSremained 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.  MyronPECKINS married Sarah J. TAYLOR, daughter of Alva TAYLOR of Benton, and nowresides in Penn Yan.  Charles R.PECKINS married Eleanor BRIGGS, daughter of Seth B. BRIGGS, an old and respectedresident of Benton.  Further mentionof Myron and Charles PECKINS will be found elsewhere in this volume.  

Oneof the most prominent families in the southwest part of Benton was that of whichJames 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 leastpassing 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, andhis brother, Thomas DAVIS, in 1814.  Theywere pioneers in that locality.  

JamesSMITH and family from Orange County, settled south of Benton Center in 1812. Their children were Job, Julia Ann, Mary, Sophia H., Emily T., and SusanT.  Sophia H., SMITH became the wifeof Eli SHELDON. 

TheGUTHRIE family, many representatives of which still reside in the county,settled in Benton in 1819. 

TheCROZIER family, of which Adam CROZIER was the head, settled in the town in 1821. 

Butthe families whose names and lives have been recorded on the preceding pages didnot constitute the entire contingent of persons entitle to mention in connectionto the early history of Benton.  Thefamilies named were perhaps the leading ones, possible the most prolific, andmore closely identified with the history of the town, past and present, thanwere others of whom briefer mention was made. In a town like Benton, where settlement commenced in 1788 and concludedonly when all its lands were taken up and improved, it is difficult to determinejust where pioneership actually ceases.  But that the record may be made as complete and reliable aspossible, it is proposed to devote some further space to a mention of the manesof some others of early settlers in the town, but of whom there cannot be madeany extended record. 

TheANGUS family, of whom Walter ANGUS was the pioneer head, settled in the town in1800.  A large number of hisdescendants are still residents in Benton, living mainly on the shore of SenecaLake.   

Inthe north part of town, there were resident prior to 1804, either as individualsor heads of families, Joseph COREY, Joseph RITCHIE, Dyer, Rilish and ArtemasWOODWORTH, Lyman and Enos TUBBS, Timothy GOFF, Elisha SMIHT, Elihu WHITE, SilasH. 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. 

Dr.John L. CLEVELAND, a former resident of the county, and a medical practitionerof some importance, became a citizen of Benton, living at the Center in 1818. 

RussellYOUNGS, 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 oflong experience, and court crier for more than thirty years. In politics, Mr. CHAPMAN was a Whig, then a Republican, but during hislater 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 isa prominent wagon maker at the Center; Eugene, who lives in Torrey, and Fred,who manages the home farm.  SamuelH. CHAPMAN died April 16, 1885. 

WilliamHILTON settled on lot 56 in 1794.  Hiswife Ruth, died in 1826 and he in 1828; Robert PATTERSON settled on lot 43 in1798 or 1799; the WEED family, who are still numerous in the county, settled onFlat street in 1808; Ephraim KIDDER located in the town in 1800; the wife ofJohn MC MASTER, the progenitor of a large family, many of whose descendantsstill live in the town, located at Benton in 1810; the MC FARRENS came to thecounty in 1806; Jared PATCHEN settled on lot 70 in 1807; John POWELL, a formerblacksmith in Penn Yan, made his settlement in 1816; the LAMPORT family came toBenton in 1812; Abel PEEK’s family settled in 1813; the RANDALL family came in1812; the KETCHUM family were early settlers in Flat street; the children ofEbenzer 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 beingresidents of the town at an early day. 

Thewestern part of Benton was originally heavily timbered, and was known as theWest Woods.  In this localitysettlement did not commence as early as in the eastern sections, and it was notuntil 1816 or thereabouts that improvements were made here. Among the more prominent of the first families in this region of the townwere the RECTORS, CRANKS, WHEELERS, SIMMONSES, FINGERS, HOOSES, CARROLLS, MOONS,MILLERS, and others, perhaps, whose names are lost by time.  

Manyof the families whose names have been mentioned on preceding pages havedescendants still numbered among the families of the town today, while therewere others, pioneers perhaps, who lived here for a time and then moved to someother locality.  Looking over thelists of residents of Benton at the present time the fact will appear that manyfamilies who were not pioneers have substantial descendants now in the town, andthey too, among the most thrifty and forehanded of its people. Elsewhere in this work will be found some brief mention of persons andfamilies who have been identified with the development and prosperity of Bentonduring the last fifty and less of years.


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