SOUTH BRISTOLFrom Ontario County Journal 12 August
From Neapolitan Record 14 July 1881
After some time I will resume the further description of Bristol Valley. The farm before us in now occupied by George Reed, who purchased it some four years ago and known as the Eli Allen farm. This place was purchased and cleared up by Capt. Allen, the father of Eli W. Allen, who
now resides on the William Wilder place. Capt. Allen was an old
Revolutionary soldier, who was on guard at the execution of Major Andre,
the victim of General Arnold's treason. Capt. Allen, hearing of the
wonderful Genesee country, settled here at an early day, he built the
house known as the old Gambel Roofed House in 1795. This house had but
one roof of shingles which lasted for 81 years when it was new roofed by
Eli Allen. This house with its tall poplar tree still stands and in
good repair a relic of our valley's early infancy here, with its long
kitchen full of venison saddles to cure for the summer's use of the
family. Only imagination carries us back to the old fireplace with its
blazing fire of logs and the happy and contented family of the early
pioneer where the daughters helped mother spin and card for the family,
instead of entertaining company at the piano. The country was nearly all
woods. No roads and their corn was carried to mill on horseback or
father's own shoulders, or a stump dug out in the center for a mortar
and a pestle hung with a rope to a spring pole; with this simple fixture
they reduced their corn to meal for their families, what a change;
instead of trees, blackened stumps, and log heaps, bountiful crops of
cereals, grass, and fruit occupy the fields.
Eli Allen, the son of Capt. Allen, was the first child, (so said,) born
in this town at Wilder's Point (Seneca Point), and now after all the
privations of the early settlers is clearing up and improving the
country leaving to posterity its noble and productive farms, what will
some of the present generation do when they have to trade off their
mother for a hired girl?
At the request of numerous parties, I send you
a few items from this romantic old town. Going back to its first
settlement at Wilder's Point (now Seneca), we find it occupied by Gamaliel
Wilder, who was a whole romance himself -- hero and all the minor
actors complete. He erected the first mill, hotel, and the only church
that was ever built; and as one of our temperance orators said, he
erected them both, and the one has torn down the other and it has never
been replaced -- a sad commentary on our religious status. Now Seneca
Point is a splendid summer resort,
with a wide and increasing popularity, kept by Mr. Castle, in excellent
order. The guests there little imagine it to be the first settlement in
a town noted for its numerous places of resort for health and pleasure.
Wilder must have been a man of keen perception and natural taste for
the beautiful, to have selected from so many the most delightful
place of all. Then the rugged hills were covered to the peak in
most enticing drapery, and as he paddled his "old canoe" up the lake
own attractiveness must have drawn the prow of the boat ashore.
Further up along the shore are similar places, trying in vain,
by the help of art, to outrival glorious old Seneca. Cook's Point,
directly above, is perfectly splendid, lacking only what advantages
nature has so lavishly bestowed on her more fortunate sister.
Next above is the private residence of our new U. S. Senator, the Hon. E.
G. Lapham, which is a perfect paradise, with its bountiful display
of fruit and flowers -- a place one in a thousand, and one of
which anyone could rightly feel proud. The "Old Roman" who is its
owner has served his country long and faithfully, and now has been
to his present high position. He claims to be a full-blooded South
Bristol man, and evidently considers it no disgrace to reside with us.
But other places justly claim notice as well. All of our mountain peaks
are fast taking rank as desirable retreats during heated term. At Mr.
Charles Hemingway's, directly above Cook's, is an elevation of
some 700 feet in a little over a mile, where a good many go to avoid
heat and get relief from hay fever.
Gannet Hill lies south and west of Mr. Hemingway's, and is another
elevated point where the weary are at rest; and whether the wicked
cease from troubling or not, the writer knows not of.
But the king of all is Worden Hill, so far above its sister hills that
you look down on them and wonder that you ever recognized them at all.
Here upon the very highest peak, the State has erected a tower about 70
feet high, for use in connection with the State survey. Climbing to the
top of this tower, you look out upon the world, rather down upon it,
and such a view !! Thirteen counties, with all therein contained. Like
looking through a kaleidoscope, every turn of the glass brings new and
seemingly more beautiful view; Canandaigua, Seneca, Ontario, Honeoye,
and other lakes present themselves to our astonished eyes. Full fifty
different cities and
towns are spread out like a panorama -- Mount Hope on one side, the
of Tompkins and Tioga counties on the other. The loveliest of all
nature's most beautiful vales, Genesee Valley, lies directly west and
north, down under
our very feet, with its fields of golden grain, patches of forest,
hamlets, and homes of the lords of the soil. Ah, how little they
with what disdain we contemplate their littleness, they in their pride
wealth seeming to possess it all, not realizing that it all belongs to
and to Nature's God. We descend the tower with a full and realizing
of our own diminutiveness, and humble ourselves before Him who created
lovely scene, wondering it so long has escaped the eye of tourist and
and bid it an affectionate "good bye".
From Ontario County Journal 1 April
On Tuesday morning last our South Bristol correspondent came to us with
news of a somewhat startling nature from his locality. It appears that
on the evening of the 12th of last December, James Kelsey, a
farmer who owned a small farm about a mile and a half from "Rocky
Lonesome," mysteriously disappeared while searching among the hills for
some lost sheep. His disappearance, although commented upon by the
neighbors, caused little more than a nine days' wonder, as he was
irregular in his habits, and it was thought was only having a somewhat
more extended spree than
Last Sunday evening, about nine o'clock, his wife was surprised to see
him limp into the kitchen with a badly sprained ankle, his clothes in
tatters, and beard and hair full of unusual growth. He related a
story of his experiences since the night of his disappearance which
borders on the marvelous, and has created no little excitement among
Bristol hills. Although a man of previously good reputation for
a number of his neighbors refuse to give any credence to his story.
think that his wanderings and presumed dissipation have unsettled his
while others who know him well, and have had business dealings with
vouch both for his veracity and for his sanity. Among these last was
correspondent, who, after briefly relating his story, strongly urged a
and a personal interview with Mr. Kelsey. This was determined upon, but
before Mr. Kelsey was called upon a number of his neighbors were seen
searching inquiries made as to his veracity and probable sanity. Mr.
Elias Lippitt -- a well-known farmer and the nearest neighbor to
-- who has frequently employed him, said that although he was somewhat
to liquor, he had always found him truthful, and that he could see no
for his concocting any such story as he relates. William Wemple, who
lives about a mile and a half from Kelsey, said that he had never known
him to lie. Seven others were seen and all but two described him as
the other two saying that he was a liar, and one of them going so far
to call him a "dam liar." The weight of testimony was, however,
favorable to Kelsey's veracity, and it was decided to visit him.
His house, situated some distance from the road, is a low, one-story
frame structure, with only two rooms and a kitchen back. In the north
one of the two main rooms, Mr. Kelsey was found seated in a rocking
chair while his left leg was extended before him, resting on another
chair and liberally wrapped in flannels. A strong odor of arnica
pervaded the room. His wife, a rather good-looking woman of about
forty, immediately came
in from the kitchen with a little girl hanging to her skirts. She gave
rather perfunctory "good day," and seated herself by the stove, where
remained throughout the interview. Mr. Kelsey himself was a fairly
looking man of about fifty, with thick iron grey hair and beard. There
nothing remarkable about his personal appearance or demeanor, save an
extraordinary pallor and a nervous, tremulous twitching of the legs.
"This gentleman has come from Canandaigua to hear your story, Kelsey,"
said our correspondent, "will you tell it to him?" Mr. Kelsey cleared
his throat huskily and shifting his foot to a more comfortable
position, said with a glance at his wife; "Yes, I don't mind telling it
and it's all true, every word of it, just as it happened to me. It was
Sunday night, December 12th, wasn't it?" appealing to his wife, who
corroborated him with a nod. "I had been up to Bristol, and I guess I
had been drinking a little. My wife told me that the sheep had strayed
off and as it was
a cold night, I took a lantern and started off after 'em. I didn't find
'em where I expected to and went on over across the ridge to what we
the "rock pasture." I guess I must have got a mile from home and was
beginning to get kind of lost myself when something give way under me
and I fell what seemed to me about a hundred feet, half falling, half
rolling until I struck bottom with a thump and I thought broke every
bone in my body. When I come to my senses, my lantern was out and I was
so sore I could
scarcely move. I had some matches in my pocket, and the first thing I
was to light the lantern to try and see what had become of me. I looked
around and saw on all sides of me steep walls of rock. I thought I had
into some kind of pit, and began to try to climb out but I soon found
was no use, for a few feet above me the rocks hung out over my head.
trying for a while to find some way of getting out, I stumbled into a
of narrow passage way which after a few rods branched off into other
I followed these till I'd lost my bearings and was all tired out and
with stumbling over the rocks and laid down and went to sleep. I don't
how long I slept, but when I woke up, I heard the sound of voices off
one of the tunnels. I got up and lit my lantern which I had put out
I went to sleep, and started off in the direction of the voices. I
gone very far before I almost run into a couple of strange looking
that started and ran like deers as soon as I saw them. I followed
along, for I thought long as they was afraid of me I wouldn't be of
After going what seemed to me about two miles but was very likely not
so far, the passage way I was following began gradually to get bigger
until I came into a big cave with the top two or three hundred feet
above me and about a mile wide. There was a big lake in this, sort o'
narrow but stretching off further than I could see. Pretty soon as I
came nearer to it, I saw about thirty of the same creatures I had run
upon in the passage. They was all together and some of them seemed to
be watching me. The rest of 'em looked as if they was listening hard.
They was talking to each
other in what sounded like the English language. They was strange
things, with no clothes on, and some of them didn't have any eyes at
or any places for eyes. Some that looked older than the others had
bits of eyes. Pretty soon one of them, an old one, came towards me and
in a gruff hoarse voice, "Who?" I said "My name is James Kelsey," but
didn't seem to understand. Pretty soon he took me by the arm and led me
to where the others were. At first they looked kind of scared at me,
pretty soon they began talking to each other, and before long they was
of me all over, especially the young ones who had no eyes.
After awhile one of the old ones said "Eat?" pointing to his mouth, I
said "Yes" and one of the young ones run off and after a little came
back with a fine broiled trout. I eat it all for I was awful hungry,
and they stood around and looked at me. After I had got through the old
man came up to me and said "Where you come from?" plain enough. I said
"From Bristol" but he didn't seem to understand me. I asked him where
he come from and he said "Here." I said "Always lived here?" and he
said he had. I asked him if he didn't get tired of living in such a
damp climate and he said "No." I asked him why they didn't get out, but
he didn't seem to understand me. I stayed there with those people, and
kinder people never lived, until last Sunday night.
After a few days we got so we could understand each other very
well, only they didn't seem to know many words. Fish was the only kind
of food they had. They didn't know much about time, day and night was
all the same to them, and the only way they could tell about time was
the lake getting cold. They called this "cold water" and the old man
he could remember forty "cold waters." After a while he told me as well
as he could that his father had told him that his father had come in a
boat from some other place with three others, and he showed me the
of an old fashioned wooden boat on the shore. The fire which did the
they kept burning all the time and he said they got coal at the other
of the lake. All the food they had was fish which they speared with
made of rock points and with handles made of the bones of some small
bound together with fish gut. This animal which I thought must be a
of musk rat also furnished skins for their boats of which there were
three or four, with frames made of the same bones as the spear handles.
I found they were very bright people, and learned very quick. The only
trouble was they knew so few words, only the names of things they had
there in the cave. I found after I had been there a while that there
about seventy of them, about thirty grown people and forty children of
ages. After I had been here a while I began to get pretty tired of fish
of the life and began wondering how I could get out. I found out that
knew of the place I fell in, for it was a little light above and the
man said he had often wondered what it was. I told him I was going to
to get out and he made no objection, but when I asked if some of them
not want to go with me, they all said no. But they all turned to and
me make a strong rope of the fish gut, and went with me to the place
I fell in. It did not take me very long to throw a rock with the rope
to it over a bit that stuck out about 15 feet above, but not until I
slipped back and sprained my ankle did I succeed in getting onto the
above; after that the entrance sloped gradually and I soon climbed out
found my way home."
"There's the rope there" said Kelsey, pointing to a rope about
thirty five feet in length which lay coiled on the floor. It was
made of fine gut and seemed strong and durable. Kelsey himself showed
visible signs of having gone through some strange experiences. Although
apparently in good health, except for his sprained ankle, he had the
tremulous nervous manner already referred to and seemed rather
to go much into details. He believes that he can easily find the
to the cavern again and promised to take the Journal reporter to it
as soon as he is able to move. The neighbors and those who know Kelsey
that although a man of more than average intelligence he is not at all
man to invent such a tale.
The above account was related briefly yesterday to a man well versed in
the early history of the county and he at once said that he remembered
in one of the old histories of the county a description of the
disappearance of four persons who were fishing on the lake. A search
was made among the old records and on page 221 of "Townsend's Early
Annals of Ontario," published in 1823 by George Burke & Bros. of
Philadelphia, is found the following:
In this year (1817) a sad accident occurred to Mr. Elizur
Hedge and wife and a young man named Crumb and Ann Hedge, a daughter of
Elizur. While fishing on the lake, they were upset and all the party
drowned, no traces ever being found of their bodies nor of the boat.
It is a well authenticated fact known to the older inhabitants
of the county and amply proven by various authorities that about
seventy years ago there was a sudden rise in the level of the waters of
the lake, some authorities putting the change of level as great as
twelve feet. The weight of evidence is however that the rise was not
more than three or at
most four feet. This is further proven by the testimony of the
descendants of the older settlers of the southwestern lake shore, who
remember their fathers telling of the existence of a cave leading to
the west from the lake through a low opening which was navigable and
which gradually expanded into a large subterranean cavern. This was
known as Hyde's Hole and was a favorite winter fishing ground for
trout, which seemed to hibernate there. The mouth of this cavern
disappeared on the day of the rise of the waters of the lake. It is
impossible by such documentary evidence as we can discover to
definitely establish that the disappearance of the four persons and the
rise of the lake level occurred on the same day, but certain facts
reasonable certainty to such coincidence. If this could be definitely
there would seem to be little doubt that Hedge and his companions were
drowned at all but that they entered the cave in search of fish and
further than they intended found their retreat cut off by the rising
It was probably their descendants with whom Kelsey had his strange
What at first seemed almost incredible about Kelsey's narrative and
strong doubts upon the whole was his story of the absence of eyes among
the younger people. This has been converted into additional proof of
truth by the testimony of a gentleman who says that it is a well-known
fact that the disuse of any organ is followed before many generations
its speedy decay. This gentleman cited as examples of this the eyeless
fishes of the Mammoth cave, and the Rocky Mountain Big Horn sheep,
that, if taken to level countries, soon lose the enormous horns upon
which they alight
in their long leaps from the high peaks of the Rockies.
From Neapolitan Record 11 March 1880
In Memoriam - We give the heading above with due respect for the
idea it conveys, and in this short sketch of "departed spirits," we
think it quite appropriate. About 1800 the first distillery of the town
of Naples was erected on the knoll just back of the Judge Cleveland
homestead, and it was used for peach brandy. At that time and years
later, within the remembrance of J. W. Clark, the corner where Ira C. Williams lives
around by Mr. Hoecker's, was a vast peach orchard of natural fruit.
This was considered the best way to get rid of the product. Not many years after this, J. H. Parrish erected
a distillery on the flat point of land south of the mouth of the
so-called Parrish gully where pure spirits was distilled, and which,
with the actors, long ago went the way of the world with the first
The third was by C. H. Luther, Esq., who was in full blast at the
building of the old Presbyterian church in 1824; he had his just back
of the furnace of E. Wells & Son, and it was in operation several
years. The fourth was built prior to 1830, and is now the dwelling house
next west of Griswold Brothers' shop. This was built by Simeon Lyon, grandfather of the present Lyon's. Harry Porter, of Porter & Lyon, and others run it, and in later years it was owned and run by Wm. Porter. About 1840 the building was rebuilt and enlarged to its present size, and about 1850 was discontinued.
The fifth was built before 1850 by Alanson Watkins, near the
creek below Myron Cleveland's residence; the old building yet remains,
but was in use as a whiskey still only a new short years. The sixth and
last of the "departed spirits" was erected about 1860 in the grape
interest and near the Watkins still. About 1862 it was burned, and after
some delay and temporary buildings, the interests were purchased by R. P. Caulkins, and
the wine cellar and still across the flat was built. This in 1876 was
burned, and since that time no "worm of the still" has been in use in
Naples publicly, but some of the product still worms its way in. We give
this short obituary of the "dying worms" and it is easy to see the past
and present feeling as to their existence. Then the best people made
and used it, the the abhorrence of the deadly effects of the present day
still is left for all to see.
From Neapolitan Record 21 October 1880
We have spoken of some things of 1793, and shall refer to others of
that time, but we wish to compare in this article that time with the
present. Think of a few log houses without glass or sash, if with a
chimney, it was of mud and sticks, and these were all near the "old
square", and a half dozen would comprise all. The huts of the Indians
outnumbered them, and the red men were often indebted to the whites for
subsistence. One hard time is mentioned in the early history of our
first settlers; it was in the winter of 1793-4. The settlers fell short
of provisions of all kinds; the winter was severe. No grain, no mill to
grind the corn, and actual suffering existed. Mr.
Gilbert was the only resident at Augustus (now Rushville) and Mr. Bevine, a
surveyor, the only resident between this village and the Bath
settlement, and he was at Cohocton. Wilder's Point had a settler but no
provisions could be had nearer than Wadsworth's on the Genesee River. John Mower was
deputed by the settlers to travel the Indian path to Big Tree,
Wadsworth's residence, and buy some cattle to kill. Upon his arrival he
found but few, and they very poor. Mr. Wadsworth asked him $50 for a
small, poor, two-year old, and Mr. Mower trudged back without any. Wild
game, the pounded hominy and what few greens could be scraped from the
flat lands, formed their living until spring opened. Let it be
remembered that at this time school was kept up, and stated preaching.
Then our present Main street was the Indian path to the south of the
settlement, and where our thriving village was only a wilderness, with
here and there a log road to the saw mill of Clark and Metcalf, which as
we have said stood just back of the present Naples mill. About this
time the first funeral was solemnized by the settlers; it was that of
the aged Chief Canesque who was brought from near the Genesee river to
Koyandaga (now Naples) to be buried. He lived a little time after his
faithful followers had brought him the forty miles on a sled, and was
buried with Indian honors -- a hole with a bark covering for his body,
and trinkets. This was the first funeral of the settlement. No town
meetings were held until 1796; none were needed. The Clarks, Watkinses,
Parrishes, Mowers, Clevelands, Metcalfs, Kibees, Wileys, Duntons and
others here, were governed by the true puritanical religions of New
England, and as yet needed no other laws in their secluded home. This
gives an idea of the valley here eighty-seven years ago, and as many of
our readers are of the third, fourth, and even fifth generation, we will
leave them, with others, to compare that time with the present thrifty
village and its surroundings. Contemplate the religious, educational,
social -- every interest -- of the present day with that mentioned. It
will be found that our appreciation and thankfulness is not
proportionate to the change !
From Neapolitan Record 19 January 1887
Historical Scraps - Ninety-eight years ago now the original Parrish families were on their way from Massachusetts to Naples by ox teams to make the first settlement, arriving here in February. Samuel, Levi and Reuben Parrish were
these first pioneers, and the sleigh box and bottom was used for a door
to a small log house and bottom was used for a door to a small log
house erected beyond Cummings' house, and another was built just beyond
Mr. Lincoln's home farm.
In 1795 Jabez Metcalf kept tavern about where Mat Eichberger's house stands now, and Louis Phillippe, the French king, was his guest over night; he and Capt. Williamson were on their way from Bath to Geneva.
In 1796 Benjamin Clark, who had married Thankful Watkins, the
year before built a grist mill on the site of Gordon's present mill; it
was 30 x 40 feet and was considered a huge affair at that day. Richard Henderson was the millwright and Charles Wilcox the
carpenter; its coat was $1000. The mill stones -- one set -- was
brought from Wyoming, Pa., and Mr. Clark had to haul them from Newtown
(Elmira) with four pairs of oxen, cutting the road part of the way. The
mill could grind 60 bushels in 24 hours.
In Jan. 1800, the news of Geo. Washington's death reached the little
settlement in Naples and the 22d of Feb. was set as an appropriate day
(being Washington's birthday) to observe it. Captains Kibbe, Cleveland, Williams and Isaac Watkins, Col. Clarke and others had served under him as Commander-in-Chief. On this occasion, Caleb Abernatha delivered
the eulogy; in his address he asked "why this assemblage? why does a
nation mourn," etc; at once thirteen young ladies, appropriately
dressed and decorated, arose and answered in song, "Our Washington's no
more, etc." The services were held in the town house down on the
square, and Mr. Pottle's mother and Mrs. Sprague's mother were two of
the thirteen singers.
From Ontario County Journal 6 January 1905
WHEN ALL MEN DRANK WHISKEY
Naples, N. Y. - John Peck, a venerable Neapolitan, looking back
through his 85 years of life, makes some interesting observations in
the Naples Record regarding the change in temperance sentiment during
the past three quarters of a century. "On the old pike east of
Canandaigua," says the writer, "there were seven taverns in a distance
of five miles. There was a tavern on the road between Naples and Italy
Hollow; another in Hunts Hollow; two in West Hollow; in Naples four and
one distillery. Besides there was liquor kept in stores and other
places of business. Three taverns between Naples and Rushville, and
four between Rushville and Canandaigua. Enough, one would say to
dispense creature comforts to the full.
"The country was new; the people were clearing up the lands and
building log houses. It was customary in those days to have logging
bees, chopping bees, stone bees, hoeing bees, mowing bees, raising,
etc. At all of these gatherings there was whiskey galore. Men would
work half a day for the whiskey the could drink. Raisins, hog killing,
sheep washing and shearing were considered special occasions at which a
bountiful supply of whiskey must be furnished. A field of grass or
grain could not be harvested without liquor. Whatever the work might
be, liquor was generally taken into the field. Few at the present day
know anything about spinning bees. In olden times, they were quite
frequent. Most of the farmers raised flax, from which their summer
garments were mostly made. Heads of flax were distributed through the
neighborhood to be spun. On a given night, the yarn would be taken in.
There would be a supper, well seasoned with whiskey, of course.
Sometimes there would be a dance in the evening. The men would drink
new, raw whiskey, while hot slings would give flexibility to the
tongues of women, so that the conversation embraced a variety of
subjects and often took a very wide range."
From Naples Record 22 October 1941
West Hollow is proud of its old graveyard at the back of the
schoolhouse. It is valued both for its associations and its peaceful
charm and also for the information which the stones supply about the
early history of the community. Some of the graves have no stones to
mark them, and perhaps "some mute, inglorious Milton here may rest";
and some have fallen on the ground, but nearly all the inscriptions can
still be read.
One of the earliest bears the date 1823. when Onesimus Covel died at
the age of 33. Onesimus, which is a Greek word meaning "useful" or
"beneficial", was used by both the Greeks and Romans, and it also
occurs in the Epistles of St. Paul, from which Onesimus' parents, in
the 18th century, may have taken it.
A tall stone preserves the name of Horace Allen, who died in 1842 at
the age of 44, and on April 27 of the same year, Judith, the wife of
John Sutton (formerly Miss Hawes), died at the age of 56. John Sutton
himself died on June 20, 1862, aged 78, and his gravestone is
important, since it gives the date when he settled in this place,
namely the year 1812, which is only a few years after Middletown took
the names of Naples in 1808. He also takes us back to the 18th century,
for he was born in 1785; his house still survives, though it is now
unoccupied and attached to the farm of Mr. J. Ball.
Abraham Sutton, John's brother, also came to West Hollow about the same
time, but he is not buried in this graveyard. In a small private
cemetery concealed in the woods north of the house now occupied by Mr.
Matson, which was formerly the home of Abraham Sutton, there are a
number of gravestones and two tall monuments, one of which bears the
name of Jemima, wife of Abraham Sutton, who died on September 15, 1858,
at the age of 68, and the other that of Paul H. Sutton, who was born on
October 5, 1812, soon after the family arrived, and died in 1886. The
first monument has a valuable record on it, which states that Abraham
Sutton came to the Sutton Settlement in the year 1811; according to
this, he arrived the year before his brother, John.
The West Hollow cemetery contains the grave of Mary Louisa, the wife of
John Sutton's son, Myron, who is still remembered for his love of music
and his orchestra; his house is the one now occupied by Mr. Ralph
Brown, and on an old map of Ontario County, dated 1859, this is marked
as the "Music School," though the building known as the Dance-Hall from
the road to the back of the house and is no longer fit for use. Myron
Sutton's wife was the daughter of John Clement, who was born at
Shrewsbury, in England, in 1788.
There are also gravestones for Joel C. Sutton, the son of John Sutton,
who died in 1870, aged 47, and B. J. Sutton, who died in 1881 at the
age of 34; the inscription on the latter's grave, "Passed from death
unto life," tell us something of the religious feeling of the family.
There is tragedy, too, in some of the graves: Ruth, the wife of Orlando
Cleaveland, died on June 11, 1859, at the early age of 23, and her
infant son died on October 17, only a few months later. Some verses on
her tombstone, which has an attractive rose design carved on it,
suggest what this must have meant to her family:
""When I was warned to the grave,
Friends nor physicians could not save,
Now I must sleep here in the tomb,
Until the last trump shall sound."
But some lived to a ripe old age; John Johnson died on November 2,
1851, at the age of 87, and Hannah, his wife, died on December 30 of
the same year, aged 86.
"He first deceased, she for a little tried To live without him, liked it not, and died."
These are lines that might apply equally well to them.
One little boy, Razelle, who died on October 14, 1859. aged 3, must
have been greatly missed by his parents, Gideon and Belinda Beeman, for
they have put these verses on his grave:
""This lovely bud so fresh and fair,
Call'd hence by early doom,
Just came to show how sweet a flower
In paradise would bloom."
Some of the stones date from the period of the Civil War, but none seem
to be later than 1881. However, Mrs. Esther N. Sutton, formerly Mrs.
John Clement, was buried in 1895, though no stone can be found for her
grave. And Alexander Cleaveland and his wife are buried in the field
outside the cemetery; she died in 1904; the date of his death, 1921, is
The Rev. David Smith, Proctor J. Smith and other members of the family
are all buried in the cemetery, as well as James R. Wilcox, Chloe R.
Hotchkiss, Mr. and Mr. Caleb McNair, and many others.
These are a few of the names recorded in West Hollow; perhaps other
communities can provide some interesting information about their own
graveyards. (Reprinted from the Naples Record of August 30, 1939, by request.)
From Ontario County Journal 27 February 1914
It seems a remarkable coincidence worthy of note that
within a radius of only three or four miles of Rushville are to be
found so many farms which have been kept in the family one hundred
years or more. The history of the Blodgett family is closely interwoven with Rushville early history. Ludin Blodgett, who,
with his family, came from Clinton, Oneida County, with a part of his
family in a wagon in five and one-half days, in 1806. His sons, Joseph
and William, felled the first trees on the farm then consisting of 420
acres, which was later owned by Joseph's son, the late Albert Blodgett,
and now by his children, Miles Blodgett being the present occupant.
The farm, three miles east of Rushville, which is now owned by Arba, Herbert, and Helen Blodgett, children of Elbert Blodgett, has been in the family nearly one hundred and fifty years. Solomon Blodgett, great-grandfather
of the present owners, a Revolutionary Soldier, removed from
Massachusetts to this place in 1870. At his death, it came into the
possession of Martin Blodgett and then Elbert. There is an old
clerk's book in that school district which up to last year had been in
use since the school was started in 1813.
Another farm which is located not far from the Blodgett farm is the Taylor Lewis farm, which has been in the family 100 years. The farm, northwest of Rushville, now owned by William Fisher, was taken up by his father, Christian Fisher, in 1801, who paid $250 for 50 acres, the purchase being made of Mr. Gorham. Later 150 acres were added. William Fisher has been in possession 50 years.
The Henry Fisher farm has also been in the family 100 years. The farm now owned by Elton Haley was purchased of Arnold Potter by Daniel Halley in 1807, $110 being the price for 68 acres. The E. B. Voorhees farm located a short distance from the Halley farm has been owned by the family 95 years.
The farm now owned by Herbert Foster was taken up by William Foster in 1906. Benjamin Bootes purchased from the Land Office at Geneva, probably in the year 1804, the farm now owned by his grandson, Charles Bootes. Byron Clark's farm was taken up by his grandfather about one hundred years ago, and the Andrew Cadmus farm just south of the Clark farm, while not in the family 100 years, was purchased by John Cadmus in 1830.
The Fred Bickett farm is one of the historical places of this section and was purchased of Arnold Potter by Michael Pearce, the deed being made to his son, Job Pearce, April 15, 1807. The farm now owned by Mrs. Florence Arnold and her son, Bert, was purchased of Phelps and Gorham in 1813 by Abraham Arnold, great-grandfather of the late Cuyler Arnold. The Wealthy Loomis farm is the old home stead which has been owned by the family over 100 years.
From Geneva Daily Times 22 January 1940
Several months ago, G. M. B. Hawley, local historian,
contributed an article to The Times relating to the village of Gorham
and telling how the name of the village used to be "Bethel," having
been changed to "Gorham" at a public meeting held March 9th, 1849. The
article brought forth a number of questions as to just when this
village was first called Bethel. Mr. Hawley, in looking over old
newspapers a day or two ago, found in the Geneva Gazette of December 4,
1816, an item which answers the question. The notice was as follows:
TO THE PUBLIC: At a respectable meeting of the
inhabitants of the south part of the Town of Gorham, convened at the
house of Thomas Halstead, on the evening of the 30th inst., for the
purpose of giving a name to the village of Runyan's Mill, P. Hollett
was chosen Chairman and S. Crittenden, Clerk. The following resolution
RESOLVED, That this village hereafter be known and called by the name of BETHEL.
Bethel, November 30th, 1816
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