Yates County, New York

Early Settlers for the Town of Middlesex


From the History of Yates County, NY
published 1892, by L.C. Aldrich

pg.472 - 475

 

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EarlySettlers of Middlesex  

transcribedby  Dianne Thomas

ArnoldPOTTER made his purchase of the lands that now comprise Middlesex in 1789; andduring the same year the territory was surveyed into ranges and farm lots byPerley HOWE.  The ranges run northand south, and the farm lots east and west. However, on two after occasions the lands of the town were re-surveyedand re-lotted.  More than this,large tracts passed into different ownerships, and were surveyed and lottedaccording to their situation or as best pleased the fancy of their proprietors.  

Theearly settlement of the town of Middlesex was not unlike that of other towns ofthe region.  The coming of thePOTTER family to the vast purchase, and the offering of the lands for sale atexceeding low prices, had the effect of rapidly bringing settlers to the towneven before the beginning of the present century; and although distant as it mayhave been from the first settled community occupied by the Friends, thislocality was taken and improved generally earlier than the most accessible townsnow called Barrington, Starkey, Western Milo and Jerusalem.  Prominent among the pioneers of Middlesex were the familiesof John WALFORD, Benjamin TIBBITS and Michael PIERCE. 

JohnWALFORD was a Rhode Islander, and came to the Potter tract in 1789, and a fewyears later made his permanent home where now is the hamlet of Middlesex Center. His wife died in 1791 and was the first white person buried in this town. John  WALFORD died in 1813. John Jr. and James WALFORD were the only children in this pioneer family. 

MichaelPIERCE and his family also came from Rhode Island. He bought 400 acres from Arnold POTTER, and both he and his wife died inthe town, far advanced in years.  Theirchildren were Job, Thomas, Samuel, John, Sally and Lucina. Michael PIERCE helped to survey the town. 

WarhamWILLIAMS, a native of Connecticut, was one of the pioneers of the town, settlingfirst on lot 10, farm range four, but afterward moving to the Walford localityon the river.  His first wife wasSarah CARR, who bore him three children: Huldah, Betsey and Anna.  His second wife was Patty CONE, by whom he had sevenchildren: John W., Oliver S., Lucy, Melinda, Eunice, Valona and Caroline. 

Thefamily of John BLAIR settled on Surveyor Perley HOWE’s lot, in the 7thrange in 1794.  His wife died in1805 and he in 1814.  Their childrenwere John, James, Nathan, Warren, Amy and Sally. John, James and Warren BLAIR served during the War of 1812. 

In1806 William FOSTER and family located on lot 7, range seven and there lived tothe end of his life.  He hadthirteen children, seven of whom grew to maturity, viz.: Alanson, William,Julia, John, Ira, Martin and Susan.  Alsoin 1806 came to the town, Daniel HAWLEY and family, and located on lot 8, range6, succeeding a still earlier setter, Henry FAROUT.  They had one son, Daniel Jr., who married Sarah TAYLOR. Of this marriage, five children were born, viz.: Charlotte, Daniel,Abigail, Josiah and Thomas H.  Inthe same year, 1806, came from Vermont the family of Asahel ADAMS and settled onWest River.  In this family were ten children: Betsey, Chauncey, John,Alta, Cyrus, Polly, Sally, Asa P., Lovell and Cynthia.

Severalof the children of Samuel and Rachel LINDSLEY were among the early setters inthe town and were afterward followed by their parents. The mother died in 1816, and the father in 1819. the children were Daniel, Samuel, Elizabeth and Benjamin, each of whomhad a family in the town.  Anson C. LINDSLEY, the descendant of this pioneer family, hasbeen known as one of the most progressive farmers of the county. Cornelius SAWYER and his family settled on lot 10, range seven in 1802,and there he lived and died.  Hischildren were Sybil, Betsey, Nancy, Olive, Thomas, Cornelius and Prescott. Andrew CHRISTIE came to the town in 1812 and occupied lands on whichRufus GALE had made a prior improvement.  Hischildren, by a second marriage, were Gilbert, Abigail and James. Thomas REYNOLDS and family came to the town in 1818, settling on the farmopened first by Nathaniel WESTON.  Inthe Reynolds family were ten children: Phebe, Eleanor, Joseph, William, Andrewand Angeline (twins), Sarah, Hannah, Daniel, and Thomas. Gideon and Elizabeth (SHIELDS) SALISBURY were among the early setters ofthe town and in their family were ten children. James HARRINGTON and family came from Bennington County, VT in 1818, andlocated on lot 9, farm range eight.  Therewere eleven children in the family, five of whom only, James, Arvin, Patience,Oliver and Olive, came to this town with their parents. 

Amongthe earliest settlers in the Vine Valley was Hiram COLLINS, whose location wasnear the place afterward owned by Major HIXSON. Another pioneer in the same locality, perhaps the first settler, was JohnMC NAIR, whose farm was on the lakeshore, afterward known as the Peters farm. Henry FULLER came into the valley in 1816 from Saratoga. The children in his family were Orrin, Mary Ann, Amanda, Harriet, Jane O.and Sarah.  David SPIKE came inearly and settled near the FULLERS, but later moved from the town. Samuel FIST was also an early resident in the same locality. In the same relation may also be mentioned David FAROUT. John SMITH, better known as “Captain” SMITH took up an early abode onBare Hill, a location best suited to his peculiar character. He was aconspicuous figure in all sports in the community, and was not unknown in somediscreditable performances, but crime was not charged against him. He was a rough, uncouth, boisterous fellow, but possessed a good heardand a warm friendship for all who treated him fairly. 

Inconnection with the early and pioneer history of every town there must always berecorded the customary “first events”. For those in Middlesex perhaps no more accurate account can be furnishedthan is found in the report of Edward LOW to the County Historical Society, towhich the writer is indebted for what follows, although it may be said that newnames will appear in addition to those already mentioned in this chapter.  

Thereport disclosed that Michael PIERCE settled in the town in 1791, followed soonafterward by John BLAIR, Chester ADAMS, Thomas and Joshua ALLEN and their twosisters, all blind persons, James WESTBROOK, Solomon LEWIS, John Mc NAIR, JohnC. KNOWLES, Benjamin LOOMIS, Cornelius SAWYER, Daniel LINDSLEY, N. WESTON, JohnWALFORD, Nathan SMITH, and others whose names have already been mentioned.  

Thefirst justice of the peace, also postmaster, was pioneer Michael PIERCE. William BASSETT kept the first school in 1798. William COLBERT was the first Methodist Episcopal preacher, conductingservices at Squire PIERCE’s house as early as 1797, and continuing until achurch was built.  Daniel LINDSLEYerected the first frame house, while Chester ADAMS built the first frame barn. Elias GILBERT started the first saw mill and a Mr. FIST the firstgrist-mill, having horsepower.  Warham WILLIAMS was the pioneer landlord, and Davis WILLIAMSthe first blacksmith.  John C.KNOWLES was the first shoemaker.  SethLOW married Lois WILLIAMS in 1803, the first event of its kind in the town,while to Samuel PIERCE and wife was born the first white child in 1792. Crab apple cider was made in 1805 at Mathew SMITH’s primitive mill. Eli FOOTE was the first merchant.  DanielB. LINDSLEY built the first brick house.  Finally,to bring as prominently as possible to the attention of the reader the names ofthe early setters of this region, there is appended hereto a list of personsresident in old Augusta township in 1798, who were enrolled as qualified toserve as jurors at the time.  Thelist is as follows: J. LANE, A. VOUGHT, J. LATHAM, William BASSETT, N WESTON, J.CRAFT, Joshua BROWN, William HOBART, J. TUCKER, M. HOLTON, Moses PARSONS,Abraham LANE, J. SHERMAN,  G. BATES,P. BRIGGS Jr., Francis BRIGGS, Jabez FRENCH, J WALFORD,. E. CROSS, DavidSOUTHERLAND, Jesse BROWN, Jonas WYMAN, Warham WILLIAMS, Job CARD, James LEWISJr., H. VAN WORMER, Rows PERRY, John SHEFFIELD, Chester ADAMS, Michael PIERCE,John BLAIR Sr., Elias GILBERT, Benjamin LOOMIS, E. CRAFT Jr., and Benoni MOON. But in explanation of the foregoing list it may be stated that Augusta,or even the original Middlesex township, represented a much larger area ofterritory that the present Middlesex; wherefore it is not to be assumed that allthe persons just named were residents of the town within its present limits.

 

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