Yates County, New York

History - Town of Torrey

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

pg 431-435,438

 

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Ofthe nine separate townships, which comprise the county of Yates, that calledTorrey is the youngest in point of organization, but at the same time the townenjoys the distinction of having been the site of the first white civilizedsettlement west of Seneca Lake.   Infact, as early as the year 1776, emissaries of the Society of Friends visitedthe lake county of New York State for the purpose of selecting a home andlocation for their society, and after casting about in various localities,finally and by mere accident pitched upon this as the most suitable of all theplaces they had examined.  Theresult was, though not until a further examination had been made, that in theyear 1788 about twenty-five persons, among them Abel BOTSFORD, Peleg and JohnBRIGSS, George SISSON, Isaac NICHOLS, Stephen CARD, John REYNOLDS, James PARKER,with others, members of the families named, came to the locality and made thefirst permanent settlement in all this vast Genesee county. 

Thepioneers of 1788 built for their accommodations during the coming winter asingle log house, and here dwelt until the next spring all that remained in thelocality, a number having returned to their homes in the east.  In 1789 many other Friends came to the New Jerusalem, as thelocality was called, and more log houses were erected for their accommodation. A road had been opened from the settlement to Norris Landing, so called,and along the highway the houses were built and made ready for occupancy by thedistinguished leader of the society. 

ThomasHATHAWAY, one of the leaders of the society, lived in a log house about half amile, perhaps less, east of the Friend’s house. The aristocratic POTTER family, headed by Judge William POTTER, livedsouth of HATHAWAY’s place.  BenjaminBrown Sr., lived nearer the Friend’s home, and only about a quarter of a miletherefrom.  Abel BOTSFORD dweltnorthwest of the leader, and Elnathan and Jonathan BOTSFORD directly west ofCity Hill.  Within a circuit of twoor three miles dwelt all the familiar names of the remarkable community. 

Inthe year 1790 the Friend herself, the distinguished leader of the devotedfollowing, left her former residence in Pennsylvania and made the journey to NewJerusalem, joining her faithful adherents early in the spring. This same year the log meeting house was built on the road leading fromNorris Landing to the Friend’s mill.  TheFriend’s frame house was also built this year, the means therefore beingmainly contributed by Anna WAGENER.  Thisalso stood on the old road frequently mentioned, between the mill and thelanding; and it still stands, though but a wreck of its former greatness. 

Theseoriginal setters of the Genesee country came singly and in family groups,commencing with the year 1788, and continuing for several years after thearrival of the Friend.  Upon theorganization of Ontario County in 1789, it was provided that the territorythereof should be formed into districts as the county should become settled, oras the government of the shire should seem to warrant and require.  In accordance with this provision the district of Jerusalemwas created, but it was not until the year 1792 that any government wasattempted to be established therein.  Inthat year, Thomas LEE was chosen supervisor, and he made the first tax roll ofthe district, which roll was signed by the supervisors of Ontario County. A copy of the names contained in this roll will show to the reader whowere the taxable inhabitants that the district at that time. But the reader must understand that the district of Jerusalem embracedall the territory now included in the towns of Benton, Jerusalem, Milo, Potterand Torrey.  However, althoughsettlement had in a measure progressed in other towns, the greater portion ofthe then population was within the present limits of Torrey township.  The roll, less the amount assessed against name, was asfollows: Peleg BRIGGS, Peleg BRIGGS Jr., Isaac NICHOLS, John SUPPLEE, WilliamDAVIS, William ROBINSON, Micajah BROWN, Elijah BROWN, Beloved LUTHER, ThomasSHERMAN, James HATHAWAY, Lewis BIRDSALL, Daniel BROWN Jr., John LAWRENCE,Abraham DAYTON, Richard SMITH, Adam HUNT, Silas HUNT, Silas SPINK, ThomasPRENTISS, James PARKER, David WAGENER, Jesse DAINS, Castle DAINS, EleazerINGRAHAM, Amos GURNSEY, Reuben LUTHER, George SISSON, Sheffield LUTHER, EzekielSHEARMAN, Noah RICHARDS, Hezekiah TOWNSEND, Joseph LANDERS, Enoch and ElijahMALIN, Stephen CARD, Benedict ROBINSON, Sarah RICHARDS, Elanthan BOTSFORD, MercyALDRICH (widow), Susannah and Temperance BROWN, Jonathan DAINS, Asahel STONE,Jonathan BOTSFORD, Jacob WAGENER, Jedediah HOLMES, Thomas HATHAWAY(, AbelBOSTFORD, Benajah MALLORY, Benjamin BROWN, John BLAKE, Anna WAGENER, ElijahBOTSFORD, Barnabas BROWN, Levi BENTON, Samuel TAYLOR, Capt. David BROWN, JamesSPENCER, Martin SPENCER, Richard HATHAWAY, Philemon BALDWIN, James SCOFIELD,George WHEELER, John POND., Perley DEAN, Robert CHISSOM, Truman SPENCER, AbrahamVOAK, Edward WALWORTH. 

Thelittle settlement on the lake, practically within the limits of the present townof Torrey, was composed almost exclusively of member of the Society of Friendsand their families.  And throughoutthe district of Jerusalem, although there were many pioneers who had nothing incommon with the Friends, particularly in religious opinion, the greater part ofthe population was either directly or indirectly affiliated with the society. 

Inmaking their first settlement on or near the shores of Seneca Lake, the societybelieved themselves to be located upon State lands, to which they might readilyacquire title through the governor.  Frothis purpose early application was made to the proper authorities, and theagents of the society were requested to attend the public land sales at Albany. This was done, with result in the purchase of a vast area of 14,040 acresof land by James PARKER, William POTTER and Thomas HATHAWAY. This tract afterward became know as the Potter Location. North of it lay Read and Ryckman’s Tract; west of it was Lansing’sLocation and other grants.  The deedto the grantees above named was dated October 10, 1792.  But the Friends were in a measure mistaken in the belief thatthey were locating on State territory, but the fault lay not with them. As the old or first pre-emption line was run or surveyed, their locationwas appropriate, but as in the course of a few years became apparent, there hadbeen perpetrated a gross fraud in making the original east boundary of thePhelps and Gorham purchase; and in running the true line, some four years later,it was found that a considerable portion of the Friend’s settlement andimproved lands lay west of the line, and therefore were then the property of theassociation represented by Charles WILLIAMSON, the latter the grantee of RobertMORRIS, and he the successor to Phelps and Gorham. 

Thisunfortunate discovery worked to the disadvantage of the society, and was theoccasion of a petition by twenty three prominent members thereof to Mr.WILLIAMSON, requesting that they be quieted in their possession of the landsthrough permission to purchase from him.  Thisrequest was granted, and none of the settlers lost his lands through the faultof the first surveyors of the pre-emption line on the east. The State, however, was obliged to make proper restitution to Mr.WILLIAMSON and others who suffered on account of the fraudulent survey. But the one thing above all others that contributed to the decline in thesociety, and of its strength and influence in this locality, was the withdrawlin membership and support of James PARKER and William POTTER. In fact, the disturbance and complications growing out of this withdrawalworked a partial disintegration of the society, and was a controlling cause ininfluencing the Friends to depart from the settlement and take up her finalabode in the town of Jerusalem, which town her faithful followers had purchasedfor this purpose.  But although itmay be an essential subject of Torrey’s early history to thus treat at lengthof the events herein narrated, the same has also been done in one of the generalchapters of the present volume.   

Runningthrough several chapters of township history in this work, particularly in thoserelating to Benton, Jerusalem, and Milo, the reader will find a record of manyof the early families who were originally dwellers in Torrey, as afterwardconstituted, and who changed their places of abode at such an early day as tomake them pioneers of the towns to which they moved.  Still, there are yet resident in the locality now calledTorrey, many descendants of pioneer heads of families, who are worthy of atleast some brief mention in this connection; and in another department of thiswork will be found still further mention of the prominent men of the town withinthe last half century, and since the town was brought into existence.

Inthe year 1851 a number of the enterprising citizens residing in the northeastpart of Milo and the southeast part of Benton, conceived the idea of organizinga new township in Yates County.  Itis just possible that the projectors of this scheme had this erection in mind atan earlier date than that mentioned, but the matter did not assume any tangibleform prior to that time.  In theresult sought to be accomplished the chief actors had a double purpose toactuate their movement.  Theydesired on the one hand to have organized in the county a truly Democratic town,while the other moving consideration had its object in the building up of thelittle borough of Dresden, and the making thereof the chief center of trade andbusiness for the town to be erected.  Thesecond object was certainly commendable, while the first named was not to becondemned.   

Theproposition to create a new town out of the lands of Benton and Milo came beforethe county legislative body, the Board of Supervisors, at its annual session in1851.  Of course the taking of themost desirable section of these two old towns, and therefore depriving them oflong established and thoroughly developed resources, met with serious oppositionon the part of their people and representatives, and the result was that thescheme was defeated by the supervisor’s vote. At that time Henry TORREY, of Rushville, in the town of Potter, was amember of the board and its chairman.  Afterthe proposition had been defeated, Chairman TORREY said if the town was to benamed after his surname he would move a reconsideration of the former vote, andagain put the proposition upon its passage. This was agreeable to the friends of the new town; the vote wasreconsidered and the town formed by a majority of the board on the 14thof November, 1851.In 1852 the first town meeting was held, and a complete set ofofficers was elected.  From thattime to the present the supervisors of the town of Torrey has been as follows:1852, Charles J. TOWNSEND; 1853, Heman CHAPMAN; 1854 & 1855, Luther SISSON;1856-57, Levi SPEELMAN; 1858, George W. GARDNER; 1859, Charles J. TOWNSEND;1860, Harvey W. NORMAN; 1861, Jacob VAN DEVENTER; 1869-70, Darius BAKER; 1863,Dudley W. DOX (resigned); George W. GARDNER (appointed); 1864, George W.GARDNER; 1865 Harvey W. NORMAN; 1866, George W. GARDNER; 1867-68, Jacob VANDEVENTER; 1869-70, Stephen D. GRAVES; 1871, Eben S. SMITH; 1872, James M. CLARK;1873, Lewis D. DUNNING; 1874, James M. CLARK; 1875, Stephen D. GRAVES; 1876,Charles M. SPEELMAN; 1877, Horatio N. HAZEN; 1878, Charles M. SPEELMAN; 1879,Charles J. TOWNSEND; 1880, Eben S. SMITH; 1881, Charles M. SPEELMAN; 1882,Stephen D. GRAVES; 1833, Amos A. NORMAN; 1884, Charles H. GARDNER; 1885-87, JohnW. SMITH; 1888-89, Johnson J. DENNISTON; 1890-91, John W. SMITH 2nd.

 

 

 

History & Directory of Yates County, Volume II, by Stafford C. Cleveland, published 1873

Chapter XIV     pg 1153 - 11
70

kindlytranscribed by Deborah Spencer & Dianne Thomas 

 

Youngestof the towns of Yates County, Torrey can yet boast that on its territory wasbegun the first settlement and the civilized history of the GeneseeCountry.  That memorable community, widely known as the Friend'sSettlement, was largely included in what is now Torrey.  City Hill belongsto Torrey; and so do the original homes of nearly all that band of adherents whocame into wilderness with the Universal Friend to found the New Jerusalem. Though our latest geographical division it is our oldest historicalground.  

 

Torreywas taken in 1851 from Benton to Milo and its erection seriously marred the fairproportions of both the older towns.  The creation of the new town had itsmotive in a desire to increase the importance of Dresden as a social and municipalcenter, and thus to detach the people of the contiguous community in politicaland civil association from the larger bodies to which they had belonged.  Anotice was published in the Dundee Record, Sept 24, 1851, setting forth thatapplication would be made to the Board of Supervisors for the erection of a newtown, signed as follows:

 

                               RESIDENTS OF BENTON

 

JosiahC. SWARTHOUT                                  Levi SPEELMAN

 CalebJ.LEGG                                                 Harvey W. NORMAN

WilliamMITTOWER                                        Daniel KING

MartinMITTOWER                                          Samuel MITTOWER

JohnA. MCLEAN                                            John VAN DEVENTER

RussellBROWN                                               Peter VAN DEVENTER

 

 

                              RESIDENTS OF MILO

 

CharlesJ.TOWNSEND                                    Rufus E. TOWNSEND

WrightBROWN                                               Henry DUBOIS

BenjaminYOUNGS                                          Samuel B. BUCKLEY

ElijahSWARTHOUT                                       Washington BARNES

AdamCASTNER                                             Moses B. HEADLEY

GeorgeS.PROSSER                                       Asa RUSSELL

 

TheBoard of Supervisors of 1851 were constituted as follows:  Barrington -Daniel DISBROW; Benton - Edward R. BRIGGS; Italy - Nathaniel SQUIER; Jerusalem -Samuel BOTSFORD; Middlesex - John MATHER; Milo - James LAWRENCE; Potter - HenryTORREY; Starkey - James HUNTINGTON.  Abraham V. HARPENDING was Clerk of theBoard.

 

Aremonstrance was submitted by inhabitants of the district to be included in thenew town.  On the 12th of November, 1851, George W. SIMMONS appeared beforethe Board with maps, papers and statements favoring the erection of the town,and Benedict W. FRANKLIN appeared in opposition.  On a vote being taken, byballot, the proposition was voted down.  On the evening of the same day itwas reconsidered, and a vote was taken by ayes and noes, with the followingresult: Ayes: BOTFORD, BRIGGS, DISBROW, MATHER, SQUIER & TORREY.  Noes:LAWRENCE. 

 

SupervisorTORREY had the honor of conferring his name on the new town, and thatconsideration is said to have carried the influence necessary to reverse thefirst vote of the Board and secure the passage of the resolution by which thetown was organized.

 

Thetown thus erected contains 22 square miles, or a trifle more than 14,000 acresof land.  it extends from north to south,  seven and one half miles,and following the indentations of the shore, has a Lake line of 8 and a halfmiles bounding it on the east.   From Milo was taken a tract extendingwest front  the Lake on the Benton line about two and two third miles,three miles on the south boundary, three and one half miles from north to southand embracing with Long Point, about 10 square miles.  This includes lots1,2,3,16,17,18,19,20 of the Potter Location or Friends' Tract, with about onethird of lots 4 & 15 and two thirds of lot 21; also the largest section of theLittle Gore, and more than two thirds of Lansing's Purchase, leaving to Milo thesame length of Vredenburgh's Purchase, as strip three fourths of a mile wide,east of the Old Pre-emption Line.

 

Onthe Benton line and northward the town extends west one mile and a quarter,beyond the section taken from Milo, and includes one tier of lots west of theOld Pre-emption Line, yet owing to the trend of the Lake the Benton Section hasa less average breadth east and west than that taken from Milo.  Fromtownship number 8 are taken lots, 14,16,18,20,22 and 24, also a diagonal sectionof lot 12, from the southwest corner of which the north line of the town runs ina northeasterly direction a distance of two miles, and thence directly eastthree fourths of a mile to the Lake.  The northeast corner of the town onthe Lake is two and one half miles south of Kashong, and three fourths of a milenorth of the northwest corner.  The average breadth of the town is hardlymore than three miles.  The portion taken from Benton that lies east of theOld Pre-emption Line, was originally a part of the Ryckman or Reed and RyckmanLocation.  IT lies chiefly between the Old nad New Pre-emption Lines andhence the titles of that portion are derived from Charles WILLIAMSON.  TheNew Preemption Line passes through the Public Square at Hopeton and strikesSeneca Lake about two miles north of that point.  No map of the RyckmanLocation has ever come under the observation of the writer, and hence no informationis given here concerning its original survey or the size and numbering of itslots.  

 

Thesurface of the town inclines to the Lake, and the altitude of the ridge directlywest from Dresden reaches upwards of 350 feet above the Lake level.  Theonly important water course of the town is the Keuka Lake Outlet, which emptiesinto Seneca Lake, one and three fourth miles north of the lower extremity ofLake Keuka six miles east and 270 feet below its level.  This stream is anexcellent one for water power and its banks are the only rough and broken landin this town worth mentioning.  

 

Thelowest group of rocks meeting the surface within this town is the HamiltonShales which appear all along the Lake and up the outlet until the TullyLimestone is seen in the south bank at Hopeton.  The same rock formerlycapped the Sugar Loaf mound at that point.  It is also seen in its bestexposure at Croton Falls, at the Oil Mill Still farther up, and in Bruce'sGully.  Above this rock which is nowhere more than 14 feet think, is thewell known Genesee Slate, which is the next formation below the Portage group.

 

 

Asa farming district this town is probably as good as any territory of its size inwestern New York.  IT is a section that teems with abundance and has nopoor farms.  The natural forest that covered this land was of the finestquality, consisting of oak, hickory, maple, black walnut, and other varieties oftimber common to the richer lands of Western New York, with a very think andluxuriant undergrowth.  There was no illusion in the inviting appearance ofthe country to the pioneers who selected City Hill, as the center of the newcommonwealth to be founded by the Friend and her adherents.  It was all itpromised to those who chose the ground, and the Friend's settlement so earlyestablished in the deep recesses of the wilderness, soon became like anotherEgypt to all surrounding settlements and needy pioneers even as far distant asBath, and often still father.  Charles WILLIAMSON often drew on this earlygranary of the Genesee Country for supplies at points where his enterprises werein progress, and held in high esteem the industrious Friends, whose thriftylabors extorted this bounty from the virgin soil.  It must not be inferredthat the community thus favored were rich, for hardly any of their number couldbe counted wealthy, and many were quite straitened in their resources. After one or two starving years they had abundance of grain; but grain could notoften nor easily be converted into other necessaries and comforts almost as desirableas bread to civilized men and women.  Wheat almost uniformly bore a lowprice until the Erie Canal came to bestow on western New York all that it neededto make it the garden of the State - a market.  

 

Thestory has already been related how the Friends made their entrance on this beautifulterritory, ambitious to found the terrestrial counterpart of the New Jerusalem;and how they soon wrecked their more sanguine hopes by internal dissentions,which greatly impaired the unity and strength of their work, and resulted in theremoval of the Friend and may of the more devoted members of the society toanother location.  How all this came to pass and why, has never been fullytraced by the writer.  Perhaps it cannot now be fully  brought tolight.  That some of the chief pillars of the society were rent from thestructure soon after the settlement begun, is the most know.  Of the rootand reason of the trouble no proper explanation has appeared to the mind of thewriter.  No document has come to the light showing the exact nature of thecompact, or common understanding which they formed and proposed to be guided by,before their exodus form their eastern homes, nor is tradition very clear on thesubject.  There is no direct proof that the Friend or any of her disciplesever indulged any dream of community of property.  It does appear that allwere to share in the division of the land, in such proportions as their several contributionsto the purchase would entitle them.  It is said the agreement was not heldto in good faith by the principal shareholders, and that this violation of thecompact was the root of bitterness that distracted the Society.  It israther probable that this breach of faith was based on some antecedentdifficultly the origin and nature of which are not now understood.  

 

Whatevermay be the truth of history on this question, it is quite clear that a commonmotive, and the greatest unity of sentiment prevailed in the society in itscolonizing enterprise.  The rupture of this unity occurred very soon after theirhomes were clustered about the vicinity of City Hill.  The first two orthree years witnessed the migration of nearly all the Friends that ever came tojoin the colony.  It is hardly to be doubted that more would have come, andthat the society would have beena great power, had its union and its early zeal been preserved. 

Theycame with confidence in the mission of their leader and the future of theirSociety. One log house contained all who remained the first winter. The nextyear, 1789, there was a large accession to their numbers, and a cluster of loghouses was erected a little eastward of the place where the Friend’s framedhouse was built in 1790. Other dwellings were scattered along on both sides ofthe road toward Norris’ Landing. Benjamin BROWN, Sr. had a residence about onefourth of a mile below the Friend’s house, where he lived, and died early inthe present century. He was the ancestor of many noted descendants. ThomasHATHAWAY lived in a log house, still farther eastward, and somewhat east of thehead of the little ravine below that passing the Friend’s house. Thearistocratic POTTER family inhabited a log house a little south of Mr. HATHAWAY.Alice HAZARD had another log house near by. Abel BOTSFORD made his home a shortdistance northwest of the Friend’s home, Elnathan and Jonathan BOTSFORDdirectly west of City Hill, and within a circuit of two or three miles dwelt allthe familiar names of that remarkable community. 

Thelaw for the erection of Ontario County was enacted in 1789. It was declared tobe expedient as “the county of Montgomery is so extensive as to beinconvenient to those who now are or may hereafter settle in that country.”Justices of the Court of Sessions were authorized to divide the county intodistricts as they should deem expedient. The first division constituted theDistrict of Canandaigua, District of Tolland, District of Sodus, District ofSeneca, and District of Jerusalem. It was in the latter District that theFriend’s Settlement belonged, and it was not till 1792 that it had anymunicipal organization. It was in that year that Thomas LEE was chosenSupervisor, and the first tax was collected. For a copy of the roll the writeris indebted to Adam CLARK, of Torrey, and it is here introduced.

Valuationof the real and personal Estate of the inhabitants of the District of Jerusalem,taken by us, the subscribers, May 25th, 1792.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Names

Real Estate.

 

 

Personal Estate

 

 

 

 

Tax

 

£

s.

d.

£

s.

d.

£

s.

d.qr.

Peleg BRIGGS

17

12

“

21

“

“

“

 8

0 Ύ

Peleg BRIGGS, Jr.

28

12

“

 6

“

“

“

 7

John BRIGGS

19

 8

“

 7

12

“

“

 5

7 ½

Isaac NICHOLS

24

14

“

31

12

“

“

11

8 Ύ

John SUPPLEE

16

“

“

23

“

“

“

 8

1 ½

William DAVIS

14

16

“

16

“

“

“

 6

5

William ROBINSON

“

“

“

16

“

“

“

 3

4

Micajah BROWN

28

12

“

21

“

“

“

10

4

Elijah BROWN

22

“

“

29

“

“

“

10

7 ½

Beloved LUTHER

15

 2

“

 6

“

“

“

 4

4 Ύ

Thomas SHERMAN

28

16

“

45

“

“

“

 5

4 ½

James HATHAWAY

12

 8

“

21

“

“

“

 7

 

Lewis BIRDSALL

29

 6

“

21

“

“

“

10

5 Ύ

Daniel BROWN, Jr.

27

16

“

111

“

“

1

 8

11

John LAWRENCE

35

“

“

45

“

“

“

16

 8

Abraham DAYTON

“

“

“

140

13

“

1

 9

3 Ύ

Richard SMITH

150

“

“

 6

16

“

1

12

8

Adam HUNT

16

12

“

23

16

“

“

 8

5

Silas HUNT

22

 8

“

22

“

“

“

 9

3

Silas SPINK

 7

“

“

20

16

“

“

 5

9 ½

Thomas PRENTISS

22

“

“

 4

“

“

“

 5

 5

James PARKER, Esq.

32

“

“

42

“

“

“

15

5

David WAGONER

234

“

“

26

“

“

 2

14

2

Jesse DAINS

18

16

“

28

“

“

 9

 9

 

Castle DAINS

25

10

“

23

6

“

“

10

2

Eleazer INGRAHAM

16

16

“

 1

“

“

“

 3

8 ½

Amos GUERNSEY

15

16

“

51

10

“

“

14

0 Ό

Reuben LUTHER

27

14

“

32

10

“

“

12

6 ½

George SISSON

22

 2

“

14

16

“

“

 7

8

Sheffield LUTHER

15

 4

“

 8

12

“

“

 4

11 ½

Ezekiel SHEARMAN

19

 4

“

46

16

“

“

13

9

Noah RICHARDS

30

16

“

10

“

“

“

 8

6

Hezekiah TOWNSEND

24

 6

“

10

“

“

“

 7

1 Ύ

Joseph LANDERS

39

 4

“

13

16

“

“

11

0 ½

Enoch & Elijah MALIN

18

 6

“

 1

“

“

“

 4

0 Ό

Stephen CARD

 1

 4

“

31

“

“

“

 6

8 ½

Benedict ROBINSON

75

18

“

86

“

“

 1

13

8 ½

Sarah RICHARDS

12

“

“

107

“

“

 1

 4

9 ½

Elnathan BOTSFORD

32

“

“

39

“

“

“

14

9 ½

Mercy ALDRICH, widow

13

“

“

 8

“

“

“

 4

4 ½

Susanah & Temperance BROWN

“

“

“

23

“

“

“

 4

9 ½

Jonathan DAINS

33

“

“

12

“

“

“

 9

4 ½

Asahel STONE

31

“

“

47

“

“

“

16

3

Jonathan BOTSFORD

24

“

“

33

“

“

“

11

10

Jacob WAGENER

20

“

“

16

“

“

“

 7

6

Jebediah HOLMES

18

“

“

23

“

“

“

 8

6 ½

Thomas HATHAWAY

24

“

“

43

16

“

“

14

1 ½

Abel BOTSFORD

43

“

“

70

12

“

1

3

8

Benajah MALLORY

20

“

“

40

12

“

“

12

7 ½

Benjamin BROWN

59

“

“

102

“

“

1

13

4 ½

John BLAKE

“

“

“

33

“

“

“

 6

10 ½

Anna WAGENER

38

“

“

18

1

“

“

11

 8

Elijah BOTSFORD

16

“

“

 1

“

“

“

3

6 ½

Barnabas BROWN

“

“

“

12

“

“

“

2

6

Levi BENTON

80

8

“

78

14

“

1

13

1 ½

Samuel TAYLOR

78

“

“

103

12

“

1

17

10

Capt. Daniel BROWN

58

“

“

38

12

“

1

1

1 ½

James SPENCER

“

“

“

57

12

“

“

12

 

Martin SPENCER

10

“

“

21

16

“

“

6

7 ½

Richard HATHAWAY

50

“

“

33

12

“

“

17

5

Philemon BALDWIN

24

8

“

17

“

“

“

8

7 ½

James SCOFIELD

24

16

“

31

“

“

“

11

7 ½

George WHEELER

34

“

“

57

12

“

“

19

1

John POND

 8

 8

“

25

 6

“

“

 7

0 ½

Perley DEAN

18

“

27

16

“

“

“

 9

6 ½

Robert CHISSOM

13

12

“

27

10

“

“

 8

7 ½

Truman SPENCER

56

“

“

21

16

“

“

16

2 ½

Abraham VOAK

14

“

“

32

“

“

“

 9

7

Edward WALWORTH

 6

“

8

31

“

“

“

 8

 

Theroll was signed by Israel CHAPIN, James SPENCER, and Thomas LEE, “Supervisorsof Ontario County.” James SPENCER whose name appears on the tax roll, was,with little doubt, the father of Truman and Elijah SPENCER. It would hardly seemthat James SPENCER, the Supervisor, could have been the same, as he and ThomasLEE both lived in the District of Jerusalem. Yet there seems to have been notown meeting in Seneca till 1793, and it is possible that Mr. SPENCER may haveserved by appointment. 

Thewarrant was directed to “Thomas HATHAWAY, Jr., Collector of the District ofJerusalem.” He stated that it was with much difficulty he found all the taxpayers, scattered in the woods, and most of them away from roads. The total sumof the tax was £44, 18s. 6d., New England currency. The Collector was directedto pay £20 to the Overseers of the Poor of the District of Jerusalem, and theresidue to James D. FISH, County Treasurer. David WAGENER, Richard SMITH, LeviBENTON, Samuel TAYLOR, Benedict ROBINSON, Benjamin BROWN and Captain DanielBROWN, appear as the seven largest real estate owners; and Abraham DAYTON, SarahRICHARDS, (in trust for the Friend) Samuel TAYLOR, Daniel BROWN, Jr., BenjaminBROWN, Benedict ROBINSON and Levi BENTON, appear as the seven largest owners ofpersonal property. Of these seventy two primitive tax payers it will be observedthat all but sixteen belonged to the Friend’s Settlement, and were at firstconnected with the Friend’s Society. It is singular that the name of ThomasLEE who acted as Supervisor, does not appear on the roll of tax payers. 

SamuelTAYLOR is believed to have been a brother-in-law of Dr. Caleb BENTON, and issaid to have resided near Kashong, in which vicinity some of his descendants arereported to be still living. 

Thefirst road was opened in 1789, from Norris’ Landing to the mill built thatyear on the Garter, just west of the Old Preemption Line, and quite commonlydesignated the Friends’ Mill. This road passed by the Friend’s house, thelog meeting house, and near the early residence of James PARKER. Norris’Landing, which was about one mile south of Dresden, was for many years thegateway to the Friend’s Settlement. All goods and supplies were landed therefrom batteaux that brought the colonists and their effects to the newsettlement. Benajah MALLORY is mentioned in Turner's History of Phelps andGorham's Purchase, as the first merchant in the Friend's Settlement, and thefirst in the Genesee country.  He married a daughter of Abraham DAYTON, andcame to the Settlement in anticipation of that event.  He subsequentlybecame a noted citizen of Niagara county.  Eliphalet NORRIS reached therein 1792, and the Landing took its name from him and retained it.  

Onepoint of trade was at the Landing, another at the Mills where David WAGENER hada public home, on a moderate scale, in a short time.  As early as 1796 oneCOLLINS had a grocery near the mills, just out of the ravine on the northside.  Still earlier, a man by the name of NOYES kept a school in the samelog house , Samuel CASTNER had a shoe shop, quite early, on the south side of thestream.  An apprentice of his was Asa INGRAHAM, son of Elisha INGRAHAM. On the hill south, and east of the highway leading to Nichols' Corners, JohnHILL had a store.  This is where James LEE afterward lived.  Not fareast of this, James PARKER lived on the north side of the road.  He had agate with tall posts, and a cross piece high enough to pass under with a load ofgrain.  On the ridge father east and on the south side was a log tavernwhich was quite a resort for drinking.  It was there that James PARKER heldhis courts.  Oliver PARKER afterwards lived on that place.

JosephLANDERS lived near the head of what has subsequently been called Bruce's Gully,and the ravine was known by his name several years.  He was succeeded onthe same location by John BRUCE, a Scotchman, who married Fear, daughter ofNathaniel HATHAWAY and Susanna, his wife.  The ledges of the ravine were atan early day, a wonderful harbor for rattlesnakes.  It is related thatCastle DAINS, on one spring day, as the snakes came forth to the sunshine,killed 70.  He was made desperately sick, not by the labor of killing somany of the ovidians at one time, but by the strange and peculiar odor emittedby them.

JonathanDAINS Sr., started a tannery very early in the history of the Friend'sSettlement, about 40 rods northwest of the log meeting house.  

Ofthe leading characters connected with the Friend's Colony, the principal one notalready sketched is Benedict ROBINSON.  He was born at Jamestown, RhodeIsland, Feb. 10, 1758 and was the posthumous and only child of Robert ROBINSONand Phebe CARR, his wife. His father also an only child, perished at sea, andlikewise his grandfather, both being seafaring men.  In his youth he gaineda moderate education and learned the art of surveying.  Becoming one of theearliest converts of the Friend, he was a devoted and enthusiastic disciple, andtraveled in her retinue on many of her journeyings.  A journal in hishandwriting is preserved by his descendants, in which he related the stoppingplaces of the Friend and her attendants, the dates and places where she preachedand the texts which were made the themes of her discourse.  Most of themore prominent members of the Society are thus mentioned, and one journey toPennsylvania is traced in this journal.  Dr. HATMAKER states that he wasinformed by Benedict ROBINSON himself, that he was one of the three men who cameas a committee by appointment of the Society in 1787 to select a location fortheir settlement.  It has been heretofore stated that the committeeconsisted of Abraham DAYTON, Richard SMITH and Thomas HATHAWAY.  It is mostprobable, therefore, that the name of Benedict ROBINSON should take the place ofone of these.   That he was deeply engaged in all the operations bywhich the Society acquired land, is clear from his papers.  In conjunctionwith Thomas HATHAWAY he purchased township number six, in the 2nd rage of Helpsand Gorham's purchase.  And that this purchase in its original purpose wasfor the aggrandizement of the Friend's Society, and made under the letter ofBenedict ROBINSON printed on page 61 of this book, but many other facts thathave come to light under the inquiries made for the materials of thiswork.  It has also been ascertained that the land purchase made in behalfof the Society, included much more than 14,000 acres on Seneca Lake, commonlyknown as the Gore and now recognized as the Potter Location.  Beside thisthere was not only the "Garter," but several lots and parts of lots intownships, 6, 7 and 8, of the first range, and 9 of the second range of thePhelps and Gorham's Purchase.  These lands were distributed by"draught" as it was called, and the following schedules show how theywere classified.  The first relates to lands belonging in the "Lesseetowns," now Barrington, Milo, Benton and Gorham; and the 2nd to the socalled Gore, or Potter Location.  

"Wethe subscribers, being appointed by the associates of James PARKER, in the landbusiness, to divide the lands which said PARKER agreed for in behalf of saidassociates with the Commissioners of the Land Office, called the Gore, and alsothe land said PARKER obtained of John LIVINGSTON for said associates, in whichmanner as they shall judge to be most just and equal, as appears by the votes ofsaid associates.  Dated, Oct 27th, A.D. 1791 and June 11, A.D. 1793, dohereby mutually agree, as one, that the said land obtained of John LIVINGSTON,be and hereby is divided into 12 equal parts or classes as in the followingmanner, to wit: 

1stClass, the north half of lot No. 38, in town No. 9, in the 2nd range, exclusiveof 5 acres at the west end.

2ndClass, the south half of lot No. 38, in town No. 9, in the 2nd range, exclusiveof 5 acres at the west end.

3rdClass, the east 3/4 of lot No. 90, in town No. 8, and 30 acres from the northremaining 1/2 of said lot.

4thClass, the East 3/4 of said lot, No. 92, in town No. 8 and 39 acres from thesouth remaining 1/4 of said lot.

5thClass, lot No. 114 in town No. 8, and the east 1/2 part of lot No. 44, in townNo. 6. 

6thClass, lot No. 116, in town No. 8, and the middle 1/3 part of lot No. 44, intown No. 6.

7thClass, the north half of lot No. 49, in town No. 9, in the 2nd range and thewest 3-5 of lot No. 27, in town No. 6.

8thClass, the south half of lot No. 49, in town No. 9, in the 2nd range, and theeast 2/5 of lot No. 27, in town No. 6.

9thClass, almost the remaining 1/5 part of the Garter, next to the mill seat, 1261/2 acres, and the north half of the west 1/3 part of No. 44 in town No. 6.

10thClass, above the next, or 2d, remaining 1/5 part of the Garter, next the millseat, 136 1/2 acres, and the west 1/3 part of No. 64 in town No. 6, and the 1/6part, being the south half of the west 1/3 of No. 44, in town No. 6.

11thClass, the next, or 3rd, remaining 1/5 part of the Garter, next the mill seat,and the east 2/3 of No. 64, in town No. 6 and 20 acres at the southwest cornerof No. 90, in town No. 8, and 5 acres from the west end of the north part of lotNo. 38, in town No. 9.

12thClass, the next, or 4th, remaining 1/5 part of said garter, and 20 acres at thenorthwest corner of No. 92, in town No. 8 and 5 acres at the west end of thesouth half of No. 38, in town No. 9.

Witnessour hands, the 1st day of August, A.D., 1793

WilliamPOTTER, Thomas HATHAWAY, James PARKER"

 

"Wethe subscribers, being appointed by the associates of James PARKER in landbusiness, to divide the lands which said PARKER agreed for the behalf of said associateswith the Commissioners of the Land Office, called the Gore, and also the landsaid PARKER obtained of John LIVINGSTON for said associates, in such a manner asthey shall judge to be most just and equal, as appears by the votes of saidassociates, dated Oct. 27, A.D., 1791 and June ye 11th, A.D., 1793, do herebyagree, all as one, that the said Gore be and hereby is divided into 12 equalparts or classes, in the following manner, to wit:

The1st Class, No. 1, nad 150 acres on the north part of No. 18.

The2nd Class, No. 2, on the north half of No. 17.

The3rd Class, No. 3, and the south half of No. 17.

The4th Class, No. 4, and the south half of No. 14 and the south half of No. 22 and60 acres lying parallel with the south line of the 150 acres appropriated at thenorth part of No. 18.

The5th Class, No. 5 & No. 9.

The6th Class, No. 6, exclusive of 40 acres at the northwest corner and No. 13 &No. 23.

The7th Class, No. 7 and the north half of No. 8.

The8th Class, No. 11 & No. 24 and 40 acres at the southwest corner of No. 6.

The9th Class, No. 15 & No. 21, and the north half of No. 14 and the north halfof  No. 22, and 60 acres laying south of the parallel the 60 acresappropriated in No. 18.  

The10th Class, NO. 16 & No. 20 & No. 19, and 80 acres lying south andparallel with the 2nd 60 acres appointed in No. 18, and bounded exactly on thewest line of a 170 acres lot in the southeast corner of said No. 18.

The11th Class, No. 12, & No. 25 and about 43 acres being the remainder of theun-appropriated lands in No. 18, and lying parallel with the south line of saidNo. 18 and easterly on the west bounds of a 170 acre lot in the southeast cornerof said No. 18.

The12th Class, No. 10 & No. 26, and the south half of No. 8 and 170 acres lyingat the southeast corner at the Lake, extending west along the line between No.18 & No. 19, until the north line, running from said line to the Lake willcut off 170 acres at said southeast corner.

Allthe above mentioned lots are surveyed and numbered by Jabez FRENCH, Surveyor,and appears on a platt of the same, made by him. 

Witnessour hands the 2nd day of August, A.D. 1793  Wm. POTTER, Thos. HATHAWAY,James PARKER."

 

Thesums paid by each of the associates and in the several classes are noted n oneof the  manuscripts memorandum books preserved with the papers of BenedictROBINSON. The record of no draft, however, has come under the observation of thewriter, nor any other authentic record to show how the final settlement wasmade.  It is indicated by concurrent traditions that many members of thesociety were aggrieved by the terms imposed, and it is certain that most of thepoorer ones settled in Jerusalem.

 

Inregard to the question whether the grand of land in Jerusalem to the Friend wasan outright gratuity or a sale by Thomas HATHAWAY and Benedict ROBINSON, for ajust consideration, the convent heretofore noticed is not alone inevidence.  In the suit relative to the Friend's title to her Jerusalemlands, Benedict ROBINSON testified in 1813, :That he does not know from whomSarah RICHARDS obtained the money with which she purchased the land deeded toher by this deponent, in township No. 7, but has heard Jemima WILKINSON andRachel MALIN say that the said Sarah RICHARDS obtained it from the said JemimaWILKINSON."

 

BenedictROBINSON made his home on the Gore, about one mile southeast of the Friend'smill, where he had in his life time an estate of 800 acres.  By his propertyand his solidity of character, he was an important man in the new settlement anda citizen held in high consideration through life.

 

TheDuke LINNCOURT, who visited Mr. ROBINSON in 1795, speaks of him as follows:"This Benedict ROBINSON is a mild, sensible and well behaved man, resideson an estate of 500 acres, 150 of which are improved.  Last year he sold1,000 pounds of cheese at a shilling a pound.  He does not plough his land,but contents himself with breaking it up with a harrow." 

 

Amongthe disciples of the Friend who made their homes in that locality were Susannahand Temperance BROWN, sisters of Lucy BROWN and Daniel Brown Jr., of Jerusalem.Susannah and Temperance had their abode in a little log house, covered withbark, near the head of Bruce's Gully.  Susannah became housekeeper forBenedict ROBINSON and although both members of the Society of Public UniversalFriends, they agreed upon matrimony and were united in wedlock by CharlesWILLIAMSON, Sept 1, 1792.  Mr. WILLIAMSON had just been appointed a Judgeof Ontario County. 

 

Thoughnot among those who were the earlier alienated from the Friend, he too changedin his regard for her and became greatly embittered in his hostility.  Hewas even harsh and denunciatory and advised unseemly proceedings that savoredmuch of vindictive feeling.  What justifying motive there was for thisacrimony cannot now be stated.  Yet later in life, when admonished byadvancing years, and infirmity, that this life was fleeting and unsubstantial,he sought again an interview with the Friend, and found satisfaction in herreligious ministrations.  It appears that this reconciliation waspermanent, and in after years he frequently attended the Friend's meeting inJerusalem.  He was a large man of commanding mien, and rather austeremanner.  He died Feb 18,1832 and his wife, who was born Sept 3, 1760 atStonington, Connecticut, died June 10, 1837.  She was a woman of excellenttraits of character and deserved well the high esteem in which she wasuniversally held.  Their children were Phebe, Daniel Arnold, James Carr andAbigail.

 

Phebe,born in 1793, died unmarried in 1864, residing all her life on a portion of herfather's original premises.  

 

DanielA., born in 1795, was educated a physician, and was in early life ateacher.  He became a Quaker, and married in 1820, Isabella B. P.RICHARDSON, a Quaker lady.  They were married in the Quaker form andresided in Farmington, where he practiced his profession till the latter periodof his life, when he moved to Union Springs, Cayuga County, nad died there in1871.  In 1841 he was one of the members of Assembly from Ontario County,and was long a leading character in the community of his residence, a man ofpure and upright life, and a good physician.  Their children were Benedict,Robert B., Susannah, Joseph R., Daniel A., William P. and James C.

 

JamesC., born in 1797, married in 1819, Susan STEWART and was for some years afarmer, and a somewhat conspicuous politician.  He was Postmaster at PennYan under the Fillmore administration.  He died in Milwaukee in 1856. His wife survives.  Their children were Mary S., and George D.S.  MaryS., born in 1823, married Edwin H. GOODRICH and resides in Milwaukee. Their children are Susan R., Anna B., James R. and Julius.  George D.S.died in 1838, aged 13 years.

 

Abigail,born 1802, married in 1824, John Hatmaker.   

 

Dr.John HATMAKER was born at Canajoharie, NY, July 18, 1793 and was a son of HenryHATMAKER and Barbara PRITCHER, his wife.  He studied medicine with Dr.David LITTLE of Otsego, and completed his studies with Dr. Delos WHITE of CherryValley.  He was licensed in 1821 by the Otsego County Medical Society andcame the same year to Penn Yan and formed a partnership with Dr. Andrew F.OLIVER.  The same year he united with the Presbyterian church.  In1824 he was married by Rev. Richard WILLIAMS to Abigail ROBINSON, and both arestill living in 182.  After a short residence in Penn Yan he moved to hispresent residence, included in the old ROBINSON estate, a short distance east ofMilo Center.  He has been an esteemed ... (book cuts off)

 

"ChronicleExpress, Penn Yan, NY    Feb. 9, 1950"

Theftof Pates of Cleveland's Yates History Saved Them for Posterity

 

Someunknown person who helped themselves to 5 partially printed sections ofCleveland's Yates county history, "saved" the second volume forposterity, because all other copies were burned in a fire.  The location ofthese precious volumes is known and one of them is being preserved at Cornelluniversity.

 

Theinteresting story back of the "saving" of this second volume is toldin the November issue of the Cornell Alumni News, by Mrs. Edith M. FOX, who isthe curator of Cornell's regional history collection.  Here is Mrs. Fox'saccount:

 

"Inthe locked press of the Cornell University library is a second volume ofStafford Canning Cleveland's History and Directory of Yates county.  One oftwo copies known to be in existence, this volume ends abruptly in the middle ofa sentence on page 1168, has no title page and although printed and now boundhas never been published.  Discovered by a Cornell alumnus and acquired bythe curator of the Collection of Regional history in the summer of 1946, thevolume has an interesting story.

 

Thewriting of New York county histories flourished during the last 3 decades of the19th century.  A large number of these were commercial ventures produced bypublishers who undertook the work on the subscription basis so that the mentionof many a worthy citizen depended largely upon the willingness or ability ofdescendants to subscribe $5 or perhaps $25.  Others were written by amateurhistorians who usually lost money by their ventures.  Despite startlinginaccuracies, this kind of history has tremendous value for research workers aswell as pleasure for casual readers.

 

AuthorEdited Chronicle

Cleveland,the editor from 1852-1881 of the Yates County Chronicle, was a man of impressiveappearance and was recognized for his remarkable perseverance andintelligence.  In 1869, Rodney L. ADAMS, a newspapereditor of Geneva, proposed that they produce jointly, a 450 page gazetteer ofYates county.  ADAMS soon withdrew and Cleveland commented that it was"rash if not foolish" for him to undertake the job alone, since"few persons have less time for other work than who has sole charge of aweekly country newspaper."  Nevertheless, he began his laborious taskby consulting "traditions, the accessible records, the history so far asany has been written."  He was guided by a definite personal philosophy:"If", he said, "the proper study of mankind is man, it mustinclude the sum total of all that aids to fashion his nature .... If we unfoldthis wonderful scroll of a human existence we shall find it an epitome of theuniverse."  After completing more than 1200 pages, he reluctantlyconcluded to publish 2 volumes.  Nor did he expect pecuniary reward butonly a revere loss, which less effort at thoroughness would have avoided. "

 

FirstVolume was Unprofitable

 

Thefirst volume was published in 1873 and "proved veryunprofitable."  Cleveland received 372 bound copies: 1118 unboundcopies remained in the possession of William J. MOSES, the publisher of theAuburn Bulletin and disappeared after his death.  Thus the first volume iscomparatively rare.

 

Clevelandcould not afford to finish the 2nd volume, but did have part of itprinted.  His widow, Obedience, sought for the printed sheets anddiscovered 5 cases of them in a Penn Yan barn.  These she sent to JoelMunsell's Sons, publishers at Albany, who reported "that they could makenothing of value of the printed sheets after weeks of labor and that it seemedto them that they had been purposely mutilated to make them worthless. "In despair, Mrs. Cleveland wrote, "I have agonized over thecompletion of my noble husband's life work for years, and have given it upbecause I have spent on it in vain, all the money I had to spare."

 

FireDestroys Printed Portions

AfterMrs. Cleveland's death, the late George Scott Sheppard -74, continued theresearch.  Joel Munsell's Sons wrote that the sheets turned over to themhad been destroyed by a fire in their establishment, and that their efforts toobtain the original manuscript had failed.  

 

Butwhile the sheets of the 2nd volume were in the Penn Yan barn and before theirmutilation, an unknown person abstracted 5 copies, all lacking a title page anda final chapter which never had been printed.  One was sold in 1829 to theDAR library at Washington.  No one seems to know the fate of three othercopies.  The 5th copy, came into possession of George S. SHEPPARD and wasacquired by Cornell from his son.  

 

END

 

                                                                                         

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