Yates County, New York
History - Town of Middlesex
From the History of Yates County, NY
published 1892, by L.C. Aldrich
pg 469 - 472 & 477 - 478
Returnto Home Page Return toTown Index
Thetown of Middlesex as a present constituted occupies a position in the extremenorthwest corner of Yates County, and is therefore more remote from the countyseat than any other of the county’s subdivisions. Originally this town was a part of the district of Augusta, and as suchembraced a much greater area of territory then was comprehended by Middlesexproper. The district was known asAugusta from 1797 until 1808, and then changed to Middlesex; but prior to theformation of Augusta the region was a part of the still older district ofCanandaigua. This latter creationfollowed soon after the erection of Ontario County.
In1789, by a deed executed July 15, Thomas MAXWELL sold to Arnold POTTER all oftownship eight of the second range (Potter) and all that part of township eightof the third range, which lay east of Canandaigua Lake. The area of territory embraced in this sale was estimated at 35,040acres, but in fact was 42,230 acres. Theconsideration paid MAXWELL was 991 pounds, nine shillings, three pence. But there appears to have been some question regarding the validity ofArnold POTTER’s title fromMAXWELL, to settle and perfect which Oliver PHELPS, in 1798, quit-claimed toPOTTER the same lands at the express consideration of $10,000; but whichconsideration as a matter of fact is understood as not having been actuallypaid.
Fromthe time of the purchase by Arnold POTTER down to the year 1832, this region wasalmost exclusively called by the name of “Pottertown,” in honor of itsproprietor. In 1832 the territorywas divided, and all of township eight of the second range, except one tier oflots on its west side, one half mile in width, was erected into a new town bythe name of Potter. There wasannexed to Potter from Middlesex, in 1856, six lots in the southeast corner ofthe latter. This was done for theaccommodation of the residents in the locality so annexed, they finding itpreferable to transact town and other business in the town of Potter.
WhileMiddlesex is perhaps the most remote from the county seat of any of the town ofYates, it by no means follows that it is a town of small importance. In common with some of the larger and wealthier towns, Middlesex enjoysthe benefits of having its entire western boundary on waters of CanandaiguaLake, in which respect it stands along among the towns of the county. A somewhat facetious remark concerning the general character and qualityof the land in Middlesex was to the effect that nothing but “eagles andangels” could subsist there, but the changes and improvements of half acentury and less have demonstrated the fact that this town possesses natural andacquired resources far superior to some of the more fortunately situated townsof the county. Vine Valley, socalled, is a veritable Eden, prolific in its grape product to a remarkabledegree, while along the entire lake front in the town both the fruit of the vineand the abundant yield of the farm mark this as a town of worth and wealth.
Theprincipal elevations of Middlesex are Bare Hill and South Hill, both commandingheights, the former reaching nearly 1,000 feet above the lake and the lattersome 200 feet higher than its companion. Betweenthese marked elevations courses the little stream known as Boat Brook, and inthe valley of the brook is located the rich vineyard lands above referred to. The name boat Brook is said to have been given the is creek by the earlysurveyors of the town lands, who were in the habit of stationing their boats inits waters near its mouth. The nameBare Hill was given the north elevation by the pioneers from the fact that itssummit was nearly or quite destitute of forest growth, while large stones,boulders and rocks were plentiful on every side. But there was a reason for this unusual condition of things, which reasonrests in a very pretty and interesting, and possibly thrilling tradition, handeddown from the old Senecas to their children, and by the latter related to thewhite pioneer settlers. But thechief beauty and charm of the tradition to intelligent persons rests altogetherin the absolute unreasonableness of the story. The myth has often been related andfrequently published, but a history of Middlesex without the famous legend ofBare Hill would be faulty indeed. Itruns somewhat as follows:
TheSeneca tribe of Indians sprang out of the ground at Nundawao, the site of theiroldest village near the head of Canandaigua Lake and on a high hill. In the course of time a mighty double-headed snake or serpent made itsappearance and extended its body entirely around the hill, threatening theIndians with total destruction. All were killed but two, and Indian warrior and his sister. At length the warrior had a dream and he was told that if he would fledgehis arrow with the hair from his sister’s head, the charm would be secure andwould prevail; and that he should shoot the arrow from his bow directly at theheart of the serpent, and have no fear from the two heads and their hissingtongues. He did as he was told, thearrow struck the heart, and the monster, uttering fearful hissing noises, rolleddown the hill and into the lake. Hereit vomited up all the Indians it has swallowed, and then disappeared beneath thewater’s surface never to return. Thereafterthe Indian village was abandoned and its people betook themselves toKanandersaga (Geneva). Thetradition also has it hat the trees of the hill were likewise destroyed by thesnake, and that the multitude of stones were but the heads of the dean Indians. The Senecas in this extinct village, called themselves, Nundawao, Nundawagas – People of the Hill. However doubtful may be the truth of the story, the fact admits of noquestion of an Indian occupancy in this region or on Bare Hill. There are yet discernible straggling evidences of an ancientfortification on the hill, while in the valleys below, and along the shore ofthe lake have been found abundant proof of the Indian presence; and it isasserted by well-informed minds that in this town have been discovered evidencesform the Indian’s and of a higher order of intellect and handicraft. But this is a subject that cannot be discussed here, for the evidencesproduced during the last half century throw no light upon the discoveries ofearlier investigators.Theprincipal water course of Middlesex is West River, and in fact this is the onlystream of importance within the town. Ithas its source in Ontario County, and enters Middlesex at its northeast corner;thence flows a generally southwesterly course across the town and into Italy,where it turns abruptly north and discharges into Canandaigua Lake. The village of Middlesex Center lies on West River, and near thegeographical center of the township.
As has already beenmentioned in the early part of this chapter, the town now called Middlesexoriginally formed a part of the provisional district of Canandaigua, and as suchformed an integral part of the originalcounty of Ontario. At a littlelater period the territory of Canandaigua was re-districted, and to the part towhich this township belonged the name of Augusta. There being another town in this State at that time called Augusta, itwas deemed advisable to change the title of the new creation, and this districtwas in 1808 called Middlesex, then including what became Potter, became a partof the new creation. Potter, as hasbeen stated, was set off in 1832, since which time, except for the six lots ofthis town, which was set off to Potter in 1856, there has been no change in thejurisdiction or territory of Middlesex.
Thefirst town meeting in Augusta was held April 4, 1797, Arnold POTTER presiding. These officers were elected: Supervisor, David SOUTHERLAND; town clerk,Nathan LOOMIS; assessors, Benjamin LOOMIS, Joshua BROWN and John BLAIR;commissioners of highways, Arnold POTTER, Joshua BROWN, Jabez FRENCH; constablesand collectors, Jonathan MOORE, Jesse BROWN; overseers of the poor, ChesterADAMS, Abraham LANE. From the first town meeting to the present time thesupervisors of Augusta, succeeded by Middlesex, have been as follows: David SOUTHERLAND, 1798 – 1801; Arnold POTTER, 1802,04,07’ DavidSOUTHERLAND, 1805, 06, 1808 – 1814, 1816, 1818-1820; Richard M. WILLIAMS,1815, 17; Selden WILLIAMS, 1821, 22, 1824 – 27; James CHRISTIE, 1828-1830;James HERMANS, 1831 –1832; Forest HARKNESS, 1833; Adams UNDERWOOD, 1834, 35;Daniel B. LINDSLEY, 1836,37.43,44; Alexander BASSETT, 1839, 40, 45, 49; HenryADAMS, 1841, 42; Ephraim LORD, 1846; David G. UNDERWOOD, 1847, 48, 53; DavidCHRISTIE, 1850; John MATHER, 1851, 52; Oliver S. WILLIAMS, 1854; Norman COLLINS,1855; Richard H. WILLIAMS, 1856, 57; Oren G. LOOMIS, 1858, 59; AlexanderBASSETT, 1860, 61; Daniel BOSTWICK, 1862, 63; Thomas UNDERWOOD, 1864, 65, 71;James STEBBINS, 1867, 68; John L. DINTURFF, 1869, 70; Nehemiah FOSTER, 1872;Asahel H. GREEN, 1873-76; Marvin G. WASHBURN, 1877, 78; Sterling N. BLAIR, 1879,80; Adams DINEHART, 1881 – 1883; Woodworth N. PERRY, 1884; Lewis C. WILLIAMS,1885, 86; Alden A. ADAMS, 1887, 88; Allen LOOMIS, 1889, 90; Lemuel T. DARLING,1891.
Ofthe justices of the peace prior to the time when the office became elective, butlittle appears among the fragmentary records of the town. In fact, the records between 1810 and 1830 are missing. However, it is known that Michael PIERCE was one of the early justices,as was also his son, Job, the latter in 1821 and in 1833; Adams UNDERWOOD wasjustice in 1833 and 1838; Harvey FRENCT elected in 1833; Michael VAN OSDOL,1834, 39, and 45; Ephraim LORD, 1836, 40, 52, 56, 60 and 64;Thomas SEAMANS, 1835and 53; Oliver HARRINGTON, 1838; James CHRISTIE, 1840; Lorenzo HOYT, 1842; EliFOOTE, 1842, 46, 53, 56, 61, 64 and 68; David CHRISTIE, 1844 and 48; DanielBOSTWICK 1846; William S. BOSTWICK 1847; Henry ADAMS, 1847; John J. JOHNSON,1848. 50, 55, 56, 58, and 62; Francis CRAKES, 1849; John COLE, 1851; Rufus J.ADAMS, 1852; Edward LOW, 1862; Sterling N. BLAIR, 1865 and 69; E. B. LINDSLEY,1866; A. C. YOUNGLOVE, 1866 and 67; Levi B. MOREY, by app’t 1869, elected1870; David L. HOBART, 1869; Woodworth N. PERRY, 1870, 71, 75; S. T. STURTEVANT,1871, 72, 78; Sterling N. BLAIR, 1873; Wesley WAGAR, 1873; Samuel FOSTER, 1874;William C. WILLIAMS, 1875, 80, 84; William R. MARKS, 1876; William SAVAGE, 1877,81. 85, 89; Bradford CLAWSON, 1877, 79’ Damon JOHNSON, 1880; Harvey W. TYLER, 1882, 86, 90; E. S. GATES, 1883; Myron F. HAWLEY, 1887, 91; Bernard WALTER, 1888.
Pg xvi – xviii
Thisexcellent sketch (none in book) of natural scenery was photographed by AlansonBEERS, of Rushville and engraved for Moore’s Rural New Yorker, as one of theillustrations of an article on Canandaigua Lake, by Richard H. WILLIAMS. It presents a fine view of Vine Valley as it skirts the base of BareHill, with a considerable section of the hill itself; also a glimpse of the Lakelying in its quiet beauty like a gem that irradiates its modest sheen toembellish the rougher surroundings and unite with swelling hills and greenforests to form a most enchanting landscape. The Bristol hills west of the Lake which rise to a towering altitude(2,000 feet above sea level), and overlook all the adjoining country, are welldefined in this perspective and the picture gives a good delineation of a wellchosen rural scene that fitly represents the picturesque elements of the Lakecountry. It is a notable success insketches of that character. Thepoint of view is well chosen and the engraver has rendered the scene with goodeffect. Vine Valley is a recent designation for the Boat Brookopening form the Lake to the fertile back country of Middlesex. It ws the original gateway of the town to all comers by way of the Lake,and many of the early settlers made their advent by that route. The valley extending back to Overacker’s Corners, has a gradualelevation of 300 feet from the Lake, and in this depression so advantageouslysheltered by the headlands of Bare Hill and South Hill was early found the bestlocality in all the country round for the cultivation of wheat and all thechoice fruits of our climate. Thissuggested it as a superior situation for grape culture and Azairah C. YOUNGLOVEcommenced the experiment about 1865 and gave the valley the name it now bears. Hezekiah GREEN, Edward and Woodworth N. PERRY and Drs. SEELEY andNICHOLS, soon embarked with others in vine culture in this favored locality. Their success has been highly satisfactory. Bare Hill is guessed an altitude of 900 feet above the Lake. No accurate measurement is recorded. Canandaigua Lake is 668 feet above sea level, 437 feet above LakeOntario, 221 feet above Seneca Lake, and fifty feet below Lake Keuka. It gives a lake line of about seven miles including the sinuosities ofthe shore for the west boundary of Middlesex, and against the hills the shore isextremely abrupt and precipitous.
XVI– Seneca Point
Oppositeand a trifle below Bare Hill on Canandaigua Lake, lies Seneca Point, one of themost attractive situations which adorn the shores of that beautiful sheet ofwater. From Bare Hill and its Lakeside environs this point is a striking and delightful feature of the landscape. It thus becomes a goodly portion of the scenic value of the Middlesexshore; and this is the excuse for giving it a place in this book, together withthe fact that it accompanied the Vine Valley sketch as an illustration of Lakescenery in Mr. WILLIAM’S article in the Rural New Yorker. The picture givenhere is a reproduction of Mr. MOORE’S. Theview is taken from the water side and is a good one. Seneca Point has become a place of much fashionable resort.
Themap resented here is simply an outline exhibiting the boundaries of Yates Countyand its several towns, the principal thoroughfares and streams and the locationof villages.
In1829 a map of Ontario and Yates counties prepared by David M. BURR, waspublished by Simeon DE WITT, Surveyor General of the State, pursuant to an actof the Legislature. It was drawn ona scale of one half inch to the mile and is a map of general accuracy. The lost by the originalsurveys are given with numbers, except on Ryckman’s Location, and tow or threeother patents of minor consequence. Itindicates a westward deflection of the Old Pre-emption Line at the southeastcorner of township number eight, a bend which in fact, does NOT exist. By this map the meridian of Washington from which our longitude isreckoned, runs a trifle east of the village of Rock Stream, strikes the Lakedirectly east of Eddytown, and passes about two miles east of Geneva. The extreme south boundary of the county is 42 degrees and 30 minutesnorth latitude; the north boundary 42 degrees and 46 minutes; Penn Yan 42degrees and 41 minutes. Seneca Lakeis traversed by the initial meridian of longitude and the west boundary of Italyis in 25 minutes west longitude. Astage road is designated is designated running from Geneva southward by way ofLivingston (now West Dresden), thence to Eddytown southward to Elmira, but nostate route is indicated as passing through Penn Yan. A conspicuous road passes through West River Hollow, anotherthrough the valley of Flint Creek. Thesetwo converge at Bethel and pass on to Geneva. Another passes from Head street, Penn Yan through Barrington. These are distinguished as “County roads”. On this map Barringotn has a post office, but no village, Benton has thevillages of Bellona, Hopeton and Livingston, and post offices known as Benton (Bellona),Hopeton and Benton Center. Italyhas Italy and Italy Hill post offices; Jerusalem has the Jerusalem post office(At Larzelere’s) and no village; Yatesville is the only village of Middlesex,but there is a Middlesex, as well as a Yatesville post office; Rushville isdesignated as “Burning Spring;” Milo has Penn Yan and Milo Center postoffices, and a village with no name is indicated at Himrods. The only Starkey village is Eddytown, which has no postoffice, but post offices are indicated at Rock Stream, Reeder’s Corner’s(now Starkey Corners), and Harpending’s Corners. Barrington has one gristmill and five saw mills. Benton, three gristmillsand six saw mills; Italy, one gristmill and six saw mills; Jerusalem, onegristmill and eight saw mills; Milo ten gristmills and fifteen saw mills, an oilmill and seven fulling mills and carding machines; Benton two fulling mills andfour carding machines; Italy one fulling mill and two carding machines;Middlesex one fulling mill and four carding machines; Milo two trip hammers,seven distilleries and two asheries; Barrington one distillery; Benton seven andfive asheries; Italy one distillery and three asheries; Jerusalem one distilleryand one ashery; Middlesex three distilleries and five asheries. Copies of this old map are now (1873) very rare.
Thefirst separate map of Yates County, was published in 1852, by F. W. KEENAN, whomade his own survey, traversing the county with his apparatus for takingbearings and measuring distances. Beforedisposing of many copies of his map he sold it to James BURNS and Howard R.MILLER, then partners in the book trade in Penn Yan. They soon found that the map was inaccurate in some respects, chiefly inthe location of dwellings, some of which were placed on the wrong side of thehighway. They had these errorscorrected by their lithographer, R. H. PEASE, of Albany, added a map of WestDresden, and enlarged those of Penn Yan and Dundee already belonging to the map. L & S. Denton were admitted to an interest in the publication, butsoon withdrew. This re-publication was in 1854. Owing to the original discredit of the map, Burns & Miller neversucceeded in disposing of enough copies to reimburse them for their investment. KEENAN’S map is plotted on a scale of one inch and a half to the mile,and is quite correct in its geographical delineations. The southward line of the county is placed at 42 degrees, 26 minutes and10 seconds north latitude; the north line 42 degrees, 44 minutes and 10 seconds,the meridian of Washington passes by this map about two miles west of rockStream, is nearly coincident with the east boundary of Dundee village, runsabout 80 rods west of Hopeton, and at Kashong runs half a mile west of the Lake. The eastern extremity of Long Point is in about 4 minutes of eastlongitude, and the west line of Italy, 23 minutes west. The old Pre-emption Line is indicated, the new one is not, except on theDresden map. The names of residentsare given both on the county and village maps. The statistics of population are given, and the map is embellished by adiminutive sketch of the residence of John N. ROSE. There must be a considerable number of these maps in existence and theyare well worth preserving.
Thelatest map of Yates county was published in 1865, by Stone & Stewart, 600Chestnut street, Philadelphia, form actual surveys by S.N. & D. G. Beers,assisted by A. B. Prindle and H. a. Hawley; scale one and one half inch to themile. No attention is given on thismap to latitude and longitude, but other lines are given with commendableaccuracy. Lots by the originalsurveys with their numbers are laid down the same as on Burr’s map. The names of principal residents are given at their proper location andthere is an excellent table of distances between chief places within the county. Separate plots are given of Penn Yan, Dundee, Rushville, Dresden,Branchport, Bellona, Eddytown, Rock Stream, Himrods, Milo Center, Benton Center,Potter Center and Middlesex Center, with partial business directories for eachplace. The map is embellished byexcellent views of the residences of James A. BELKNAPP of Jerusalem and DarwinS. PECK of Benton. There is also alist of the Post Offices in the county, 23 in number. This map of the county is decidedly the most useful one yet published. It was issued under the direction of J. H. French, who edited the StateGazzetteer of 1860.
In1857 a map of the town of Milo and the village of Penn was published by J. H.FRENCH, surveyed and drawn by Frank FRENCH, which is an elegant and creditablework. Its scale is 300 feet to aninch for the village, and four hundred rods to three and three eighth inches forthe town. It is far the bestrepresentation of both village and town that has been given. The original lots are designated by numbers, the Garter is delineated,and so are the purchase of Walker, Vredenburg and Lanning, and the PotterLocation and Little Gore , so far as contained in Milo. The manes of residents are give, and separate plots represent Milo Centerand Himrods. The south line of the town is placed in north latitude 42degrees, 41 minutes and 10 seconds; and 20 seconds west longitude is indicatedon the east, and 9 minutes, 30 seconds on the west verge of the town. This map is handsomely embellished by a fine landscape view of Penn Yan,also views of the Court House and yard, and Clerk’s Office, the Penn Yan MaltHouse, Mill of Casner & Scheetz, Mill and residence of Jeremiah S. JILLET,Rice & Tunnicliff’s Store House and the residences of Ebenezer B. JONES,Nathaniel R. LONG, Oliver STARK, Henry WELLS, Benedict W. FRANKLIN, William M.OLIVER, John RICE, Nelson TUNNICLIFF, Job T. SMITH, Darius A. OGDEN and Henry N.WAGENER. There is also added a plot of the new Penn Yan Cemetery,which was previous to the last enlargement extending west of the rivulet thatnow divides the burial grounds.
Finally,there is the following table showing the elevation of Lake Keuka compare withother lakes of the State and noted points:
|50 feet higher than||Canandaigua Lake|
|153 feet higher than||Lake Erie|
|271 feet higher than||Seneca Lake|
|331 feet higher than||Cayuga Lake|
|343 feet higher than||Oneida Lake|
|348 feet higher than||Cross Lake|
|398 feet higher than||Onondaga Lake|
|487 feet higher than||Lake Ontario|
|625 feet higher than||Lake Champlain|
|718 feet higher than||Level of the Ocean|
|52 feet lower than||Owasco Lake|
|122 feet lower than||Skaneateles Lake|
|182 feet lower than||Cazenovia Lake|
|475 feet lower than||Otsego Lake|
|573 feet lower than||Chautauque Lake|
|1782 feet lower than||Source of Genesee River|
|3086 feet lower than||Highest of the Catskills|
Thefollowing are added to those on the map.
|390 feet below||Little and Mud Lakes|
|315 feet below||Crystal Spring|
|236 feet below||Dundee|
|42 feet below||Himrods|
|153 feet below||Milo Center|
|880 feet below||Barrington Summit|
|372 feet below||Bath|
|707 feet below||Bulff Point Summit|
|776 feet below||Prattsburg|
|1324 feet below||Italy Summit|
|572 feet below||Rose Hill, Jerusalem|
TheBarrington and Prattsburg elevations are not known to be actual measurements.
MiddlesexHistory pg 586 - 590
Bya deed dated July 15, 1789, Thomas MAXWELL conveyed to Arnold POTTER township 8of the 3d range of Phelps & Gorham Purchase as lies east of CanandaiguaLake; amount of land by estimate, 35,040 acres; consideration, £ 991, 9 shillings,3 d. To obviate all question of MAXWELL'S title, Oliver PHELPS, April 21,1798, gave Arnold POTTER a quit-claim deed affirming MAXWELL'S title,acknowledging the receipt of $10,000 as a consideration and stating thataccording to a survey of the townships, the amount of land conveyed was 42,230acres. This territory was part of Canandaigua district until 1797, whenthe town of Augusta was organized. Another town by the name of Augustahaving been formed in Oneida County in 1798, the name of the Ontario town ofAugusta was changed in 1808 to Middlesex. It was very currently known as"Potterstown," from the earliest period, and in 1832, was divided, theeast part taking the name of Potter, in honor of Arnold POTTER, its most famouscitizen, and the founder of its settlement, the west part retaining the name ofMiddlesex. The division left to Middlesex one tier of farm lots half amile wide, on the west side of township 8 of the 2nd range, extending thencewest to Canandaigua Lake. In 1856, six lots in the southeast corner ofMiddlesex were annexed to Potter, for the convenience of citizens. Threeof these lots were on the range of farm lots belonging in township 8 of the 2ndrange, originally set off to Middlesex, two in the first range of farm lots inthe third eighth and one in the second, embracing the steep hillside descendingto Flint Creek, which was thus wholly shut off from Middlesex.
Thecreek known as West River passes through the town in a southwesterly direction,forming its only water course of any importance. Entering the town atits northeast corner, it passes into Italy at a point about 4 miles furtherwest. The valley of this creek, early known as Potter's Creek, narrows asit goes southward and the land rises on both sides steep and abrupt to aconsiderable elevation. The East Hill, as the ridge in the direction ofFlint Creek is called, is estimated at not less than 700 feet above eithervalley. The west ridge, skirting Canandaigua Lake, rises still higher and BareHill, one of its loftiest elevations, is said to be nearly 1,000 feet above thelevel of the Lake, and South Hill nearly 200 feet higher. This ridge isbroken at the base of Bare Hill, by Boat Brook, a little stream which becomesnearly dry in the summer and which drains a beautiful little vale on Canandaigualake, now known as Vine Valley, lying between Bare Hill and South Hill. The name of Boat Brook was given this stream by the early surveyors, who whenthey came from Canandaigua, made it a harbor for their boats while they were atwork in the surrounding country. The town is quite uneven in its surface,though less broken on the north side. The soil is exceedingly good, bothon the hills and in the valleys, and few towns are more productive, though muchis due to an excellent class of farmers who cultivate the soil, as well as tothe good quality of the land. It was well covered with timber when firsttouched by civilization, consisting largely of oak of fine quality, hickory,maple and elm.
Indiantradition invested Bare Hill with great interest. According to the mythcherished by the Senecas, their tribe sprang out of the ground at Nundawao,the site of their oldest village, on the high hill near Canandaigua Lake. At a certain period the tribe was threatened with destruction by a mighty snakewith two heads, which wrapped its lengthened folds around Bare Hill encirclingthe last that remained of their race. As the story is told inSchoolcraft's Notes, drawn from a native source, "all were devoured but awarrior and his sister. At length the warrior had a dream, in which he wasshowed that if he would fledge his arrow with the hair of his sister, the charmwould prevail. He was warned not to heed the frightful heads and hissingtongues, but to shoot at the heart. Following faithfully the directionsgiven in his dream, he boldly shot the serpent's heart. The instantaneousrecoil of the monster proved the wound was mortal. He rolled down the hilluttering horrid noises, and plunged into the Lake. Here he slaked histhirst, and tried by water to mitigate his agony, dashing about in greatfury. At length he vomited up all the people he had eaten, expired andsank to the bottom. The council fire was thereafter fixed at Kanadesaga". The timber was destroyed on the top and sides of the hill by the great snake,and as the tradition goes, the heads of the vanquished Indians, changed tostone, thickly strewed over the earth in that vicinity, accounted for the largenumber on concretions found on the surface and in the slaty formations of thatlocality. The story of the snake is thought to be an allegory, signifyingthat intestine feuds produced hatred and murderous war, by which the nation wasnearly exterminated. At length, by the affectionate interposition of woman,harmony was restored and a new era of prosperity introduced by removing thecouncil fire to a new place. The Senecas called themselves Nundawaoor Nundawagas - People of the Hill. Both sides of the Lake affordabundant evidence that its shores were long a favorite abode and burial place ofthe aboriginal tribes. Their arrow heads and implements and the bones ofthe dear are thickly strewed in the soil. The traces of an ancient fort,covering about an acre, and surrounded by a ditch, and formerly by a formidablewall, are still to be seen on the top of Bare Hill. They indicate defensesraised by Indian hands, or more probably belong to the labors of a race thatpreceded the Indian occupation. The wall is now about tumbled down, the stonesseem somewhat scattered, and the ground is overgrown with brush. The hill wasliterally bare when the white race took possession of the country. Butsince that time the forest has sprung up thickly wherever it was allowed togrow. Arnold POTTER, it is said, raised wheat there by simply dragging itin, before he could make clearings elsewhere. Edward PERRY relates thatafter his father, Capt. Rowe PERRY, and John COLLINS purchased the Bare HillTract, they sowed 9 bushels of grass seen on the ground already clear, forpurposes of pasturage. South Hill was found heavily covered withtimber. It is good farming land where not too steep.
Thiswas an inviting region to the early settlers, and Judge POTTER's purchase wasquickly followed by the advent of numerous pioneers. A survey was made ofthe land by Perley HOWE, in 1789, and his neatly drafted map was called "Amap of Potterstown." There was a division of the land into ranges,extending north and south, one mile in width, numbered from I to XI. Westward, east and west lines at half mile distances divided the land into lots,called "farm lots." The lot of each range were numberedseparately from 1 to 12, counting northward. This system in the finaldisposition of the lands was followed in township 8 of the 2nd range. Intownship 8 of the 3rd range, there were 2 subsequent surveys, with anre-arrangement of lots. A tract 2 mils wide off the south side of so muchof the township as lies east of the Lake, was sold in 1794 to Judah COLT, and byhim to one IRVING of New York city. It was mortgaged to the State ofConnecticut in 1797, and by the foreclosure of this mortgage, became in 1804,the property of Cortland VAN BUREN of New York. It was afterwards owned byEbenezer HALE of Canandaigua, Catharine PAULDING of Westchester, and Herman H.BOGERT of Geneva, jointly, and in 1817 re-surveyed by Joseph JONES and dividedbetween the respective owners, the map of the survey as recorded indicating thelogs belonging to each. There was a reservation nearly equal to 2 lotslying on both sides of West River, about half a mile north of the south line ofthe town, including the old Reuben SLAYTON homestead. The lots of thissurvey by Joseph JONES are numbered from 1 to 46.
Northof this tract, bounded west by Canandaigua Lake, and lying chiefly west of theroad running northward through Overacker's Corners, was a tract re-surveyed byJabez FRENCH into lots of irregular size, with somewhat irregular numbering from1 to 70. Some portion of this land belonged at an early day to JudahCOLT, but much of it belonged to the estate of Arnold POTTER at the time of hisdeath. Why it was re-surveyed has not been ascertained by the writer.
HTML by DianneThomas
These electronic pages may be printed as a link or for personal use, but is NOTto be reproduced in any format for profit or presentation by ANY otherorganization or persons.
2014 Contact Webmaster Dianne Thomas>
Copyright 2004 - 2014
[NYHistory and Genealogy]