read a paper on the history of the
business interests in Victor. He apologized for any defects there might
be in his address, stating that like the Apostle Paul, he was pressed
on every hand by private and public cares. In addition to his own
business, he had the care of the corporation, being the president of
the village, involving the oversight of the Trustees, the Board of
Health, Street Commissioners, and last but not least, the lamplighter,
all of which was no small matter, but that he had hurriedly gotten
together the following facts:
It seems that the first thing necessary to the business of the community was a tavern, which was opened by one Boughton,
in 1792. The first permanent merchant was William Bushnell,
who began business in Victor in 1808. Previously to this, Enos Boughton
seems to have supplied the necessities of the community on the commissary plan. He subsequently opened a store where now stands Mr. Cobb's
store; the building burned in 1848. The Bushnell store soon took in a
partner, and was known by the name Bushnell & Jenks.
Mr. Thomas Embry
succeeded Mr. Bushnell, as the partner of Mr. Nathaniel Jenks,
1828. In 1830 Mr. Embry opened a store by himself in the building west
of the "Block." In 1833-34 Mr. Jenks built the store where Simonds'
Sons are now, and in 1835 Thomas Embry built the store now owned by William Gallup & Son. A. P. Dickenson
was afterwards a partner of Mr. Embry.
In building his store, Mr. Embry made it large enough to set over the
Jenks' store across the way. This, of course, was done in a spirit of
competition. In 1837, Mr. Simonds, who had previously been in business
where no stands Mr. Henehan's
shoe store, went into partnership
with Mr. Jenks, and from that day to the present, his name has been at
this store. At one time it was Simonds & Lewis, 1845-63; Simonds
& Walling, 1865-68; and now Simonds' Sons.
In 1817, Alfred Gray
kept a store in Victor, and two years afterward was succeeded by J. M. Boughton,
and he in turn by Thomas Embry, in 1830. In 1839, A. P. Dickenson succeeded Mr. Embry in business in 1838 D. I. Lewis
opened a store in the building west of the bank block, which was a short venture and died early. In the spring of 1850, M. H. Decker & Co.
succeeded to the business of A. P. Dickinson. Since about 1860 this store has been under the firm of Gallup & Co.
In 1826 John I. and William I. Turner
opened the first shoe store. The first wagon shop was opened by Stephen Collier
in 1816. The first harness shop of which there is any record was kept by William I. Roup.
In 1816 Blachlar & Seavy
a blacksmith shop. In 1816 a school house was completed in the village,
the first one having been built on Boughton Hill. The first teacher in
this school was Melancton Lewis,
and William C. Dryer
one of his pupils. The records do not state when the first postoffice
was opened in Victor, but the following is the succession of
postmasters recorded: Asa Hickox, William Bushnell,
20 years; William C. Dryer, A. P. Dickinson, Wm. M. Boltwood, John P. Frazer, William Gallup, Gilbert Turner, James Walling,
and now we are expecting a change under the new Republican Administration. (Since then David A. McVean
has been appointed postmaster.)
The first tin shop in Victor was opened by B. P. Frazer
about 1842, and managed by Henry Cleveland,
who was succeeded by Joseph P. Frazer
in 1844. In 1849, A. P. Dickinson
opened a tin and stove store in the building where M. Bristol
lives, of which John P. Frazer was manager, and is still in the
business, being at the head of the present large and well-stocked
The first meat market was opened by Clark & Bradley
in 1851, in the building east of Union Hall. They were succeeded by Edward Lovejoy
in 1852. The second market was opened by O. S. Bacon
in 1859. He was succeeded by Edward Lovejoy
in 1879. O. Bacon, Jr.
, opened a market in 1883, which is still in operation. Reeves & Bristol
succeeded Lovejoy in 1884.
The first drug store was opened by George Peacock
in 1863, the second by John Woolsey
in 1878. The former was succeeded in business by D. Heath & Son;
the latter by F. E. Cobb. James Walling
succeeded Mr. Arnold
in the clothing trade in 1850, and is still engaged in the business.
The first commission office in Victor was started by Kellogg & Norton
in 1874, and has had various successors. It is now the firm Loomis & Woodworth,
and is one of the largest in Western New York, covering considerable territory east and west.
The first lumber yard was opened by F. Shanks & Son
in 1872. The first coal yard by Conover & Shaw
in 1868; the second coal yard by Felt & Colling
1874 and lumber was added to the business of this latter yard in 1878.
This yard and business have been recently bought by the firm of Loomis & Woodworth,
and incorporated into their business. W. D. Newton
opened a cigar factory a few years ago, and now employs 25 workmen.
The hotels have been a prominent factor in the business of the community. The Victor Hotel was built by Asa Hickox
in 1818, and opened December, 1819, and is at present the leading hotel in the village. Among the hosts have been Miss
Dryer, John M. Hughes, G. N. & W. C. Dryer, W. C. & Truman
Dryer, Harry Peck, Jacob Hovey, Sizer & Decker, Peer & Houston,
(at present it is kept by Woods.
D. A. McVean
opened a shoe store in Union Hall building a few years ago and subsequently Thomas Henehan
succeeded Frank Burser
in the shoe trade.
At present, irrespective of farming and other business, there are in
the village: two grocery and dry goods stores, two shoe stores, three
hardware stores, two coal and lumber yards, one cigar factory, two
barber shops, three harness shops, four blacksmith shops, one foundry,
two paint shops, and several individual painters doing business on a
large scale, one bakery and grocery, one jewelry store, one bank, four
doctor's offices, one undertaker, two produce and commission offices,
one broom maker, one milliner shop, one steam flouring mill, one
insurance agency, one law office, one printing office, two butcher
shops, three hotels, Victor Hotel, Benson House and Opera House, two
justice's offices, one wagon shop, one creamery. Victor had her
greatest progress in the latter half of her first century, and this is
hopeful for the future.
From Ontario County Times 2 October 1889
The town of Phelps has just celebrated its century of History. Many
things concerning its past business, social, and religious life have
come to light. In all this the people of the town have many reasons to
rejoice. The birthday of Phelps is May 14th. It was upon this day,
1789, that John Decker Robison arrived with his family and
settled upon a tract of land, for which arrangements had been made the
season previous. In the summer of 1788, Mr. Robison, with his son
James, came to the Phelps and Gorham purchase, in charge in part of
horses and cattle, and on arrival here doubtless continued to work for
Phelps and Gorham. In the autumn he constructed a building for the firm
in Canandaigua, which was completed before winter. This building was
constructed as payment for land which had been agreed upon, lying near
the junction of Flint Creek and Canandaigua outlet. The building
erected, Robison repaired to his home in Claverack, a short distance
from the present city of Hudson, and in the spring, with wife and young
family, set out for the wilderness purchase. The agreement between Mr.
Robison and Wm. Walker, the agent of Phelps and Gorham, and the letter
descriptive of his journey to these parts are still in
Following close upon the arrival of Robison, came the Granger family, kinsmen of the family which came to Canandaigua, both Pierce and Elisha; then Seth Dean, who erected the first mill of the town and the third in these parts; Nathaniel Sanborn was in Phelps for a short time, thence came to Canandaigua; and shortly after settled Jonathan Oaks, Oliver and Charles Humphrey, Elias Dickenson, and Wells Whitmore, and
other families. These early families for most part came from western
Massachusetts. The town of Conway was the swarming hive. From 1789
until 1796, Town ship No. 11 was attached to Canandaigua, and Township
No. 10 to Seneca. "The Gore," or that part of it lying east of these
townships, after 1791, was in jurisdiction of Seneca. But in 1796, the
inhabitants desired to erect a town government by itself, hence at the
Court in the spring of 1796, Townships Nos. 10 and 11, with the "gore"
east of the same, were erected into the district, as they were pleased
to call it, of Sullivan. But this name did not suit the citizens, and
the people having many reasons for gratitude to Oliver Phelps, the
purchaser, had the name changed within three months. Mr. Phelps was
pleased, also, and if the traditions are correct, there was a hilarious
time at the old Oak's stand in ratification. The first town clerk of
Phelps was the Rev. Soloman Goodale, who was the teacher,
preacher, surveyor, conveyancer, and a handy man in many ways. Elder
Goodale, died in Bristol in 1862, aged above 92 years.
The first military organization in which the citizens of Phelps took
part was enlisted in 1792, when it was deemed necessary for the people
of these parts to organize in their own defense. There was likely to be
slight furor on the border, and defense was the display of valor. Othniel Taylor was Lieut. Col. commanding. Captain Oliver Humphrey, Lieut. William Burnett, and Ensign Charles Humphrey, all
of whom resided "within the Gore," commanded the company from the
region of present Phelps. These men afterwards rose to high rank in
militia service. Philetus Swift was a pioneer in Phelps. He was ever, as was his brother John Swift of Palmyra, foremost in military matters.
In 1790, there was said to be five voters in Phelps; according to the
Federal census for that year, there were in Townships Nos. 10 and 11
sixty-six inhabitants. In 1804, there were in Phelps two hundred and
sixty-five voters, representing at least twelve hundred inhabitants. In
1860 Phelps reached its maximum, having 5,586 inhabitants. No finer
land lies out of doors than in the town of Phelps. It is a farming
town. Its water privileges have only been partially used. It has met,
in its history, severe financial reverses, but still its citizens
recall with delight the record it has made. Its recent centennial
celebration called together its sons and daughters from near and far,
and in memory of its pioneers, notably John Decker Robison, they
erected a worthy monument upon the Redfield Public Square.
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17 February 2011