Early Settlers of Ontario Co., NY

excerpted from the HISTORY OF ONTARIO COUNTY; compiled by Lewis Cass Aldrich; edited by George S. Conover; 1893;

Town of Farmington

The earliest settlers came primarily from Berkshire County MA and were members of the Society of Friends.  The purchasers were:  Nathan Comstock, Benjamin Russell, Abraham Lapham, Edmund Jenks, Jeremiah Brown, Ephraim Fish, Nathan Herendeen, Nathan Aldrich, Stephen Smith, Benjamin Rickerson, William Baker and Dr. Daniel Brown.

The honor of being the first settler fell to Nathan Comstock and his sons, Otis and Darius, and Robert Hathaway; all of whom came during the year 1789.  Closely following them came pioneer Nathan Comstock and his large family, Nathan Aldrich and Isaac Hathaway.  At the same time came Nathan Herendeen and his family comprising his son, Welcome, and his sons-in-law Joshua Herrington and John McCumber, wives and children.

In 1790, a son was born to Joshua Herrington and wife.  Otis Comstock and Huldah Freeman were married in 1792.  Elijah Smith died in 1793.

Jacob and Joseph Smith built the first grist-mill in 1793 and the first saw-mill in 1795.  The first physician was Dr. Stephen Aldridge.

Other pioneers who settled in Farmington are:  in 1790 John Payne; Jonathan Reed, a blacksmith; Samuel Mason, a cabinet-maker; John Dillon; Adam Nichols and Joseph Wells.  Jacob Smith came in 1791; Jonathan Smith in 1790; and at unknown dates came Ichabod Brown, Abiather Power, George Jenks, John Young, Mr. Shotwell and Ebenezer Wells, Isaac Hathaway, Asa Wilmarth, who ran an ashery.  Also Levi Smith, Arthur Power, Moses Power, Robert Power; Eseck, Jesse and Willis Aldrich; and Samuel Cooper.  Also Levi Smith, William Daily, Annanias McMillan, Jeptha Dillingham, Robert Thomas and David Smith.

In the west part of the town were Jeremiah Brown, Gideon Grinnell, Peter Smith; ______ Harris, _____ Pratt and David Brown; Otis Comstock, Wm. Smith, David Gillis, Zurial Brown, Nicholas Brown and Hezekiah Lippett.  David and Stephen Brown had a distillery and ashery; Elias Dennis and Stephen Brown started a carding and cloth mill.  Other early manufacturers were James VanVleck and Amos, James and John Haskins. Reuben Smith was in trade as was Paul Richardson, Abner and Stephen Brown and Albert Nye.   Peter Cline was a tanner and Otis Brown, a blacksmith.   Joseph Jones made hats for the settlers.

Other early settlers were:  Gideon Herendeen, Elisha Gardner, Turner Aldrich, and Ebenezer Horton.

Reuben Hoyt built a tannery; John Sheffield kept a hotel; and Augustus Bingham had a blacksmith shop.

Nathan Comstock and his family made the first settlement in the north part of the town.  With him came his sons, Otis and Darius, also Robert Hathaway; and later four other sons, Nathan jr.; Jared; Joseph and John, were added to the settlement.  Otis Hathaway was an early merchant.  S. Pattison built the first saw-mill on the creek.  Other early settlers in this locality were Hugh Pound, Isaac Lapham, James Brooks and Benjamin Rickerson. Other early settlers in the eastern and central portions were John and Elijah Pound, Stephen Ackley, James Hoag, Calvin Whipple, John Howland, Major Smith, Jonathan Archer, Wm. Dillon, Pardon Arnold, George Smith; and Ahez Aldrich, Isaac Price, Simpson and Benj. Harvey, Peter Pratt, Lawrence McLouth, Perez Antisdale, Samuel Rush, Benjamin Peters.

Town of Geneva

The Town of Geneva was set off from the original town of Seneca Oct. 11, 1872.

Among the pioneers of the town is Jerome Loomis, whose settlement in the northwest portion was made in 1788.  He was a survivor of the Revolution and a man of influence in the new country.  About the same time came Major Sanford Williams; Phineas Stevens; and William Ansley - a Pennsylvanian.  Among other settlers were John Scoon; Major Thomas Huie - served during the War of 1812; Thomas McKelvie; James Barnes; Cornelius Roberts; Benjamin Cromwell; Aaron, Hugh and Archibald Black; James Armstrong; William Price; John McIntyre; Adam Fisher; George Wilkie; Christopher Richardson; and Mathew Bennett. The first town meeting was held at the Franklin House in 1873 and these officers were elected:

Supervisor:  John J. Doolittle
Town clerk:  Charles Kipp
Justices:  George W. French and Martin H. Smith
Assessors:  George R. Long and William H. Gambee
Overseer of the poor:  William H. Dox
Commissioner of highways:  Samuel S. Graves
Collector:  Edmund S. Spendlow
Among the prominent settlers of rather an early day was Judge John Nicholas, who came to Geneva in 1801 and contracted for the purchase of a large farm at the White Springs; with him came his brother-in-law, Mr. Rose, who contracted for a large farm in Seneca County.  These two gentlemen with their families and slaves emigrated from Virginia in 1803 and settled down on their respective farms, both becoming actively engaged in agricultural pursuits and the raising and improving of the breed of sheep.  Mr. Nicholas died 31 Dec 1819.  Cephas Hawkes and brothers, Eleazer and Joseph - early settlers in the town of Phelps - before the War of 1812 erected a large woolen factory at White Springs on the farm of Judge Nicholas.

Village of Geneva

On 4 Apr 1806, the State legislature passed an act which was the first authoritative recognition of the existence of a village named Geneva.  However, as early as 1788 the village of Geneva had a distinct and positive existence and the name Geneva was first applied that year.  The history goes back even further to a time when the first inhabited village here was known as Kanadesaga, the capitol of the Senecas, the home of their famous king, Say-en quer agh ta, and one of the most important Indian villages the whole Iroquois country.

Tradition says that the first permanent settler was a man named Elark Jennings who converted his cabin into the first inn established in Geneva.

John Widner, one of the earliest settlers was born 25 Oct 1779 Warren County NJ.  With his father, Leonard, he came in 1788 and there were three families living there at the time:  Peter Bartle, Elark Jennings and Horatio Jones.  William W. Jones was born in Geneva in December of 1786.
Among the early settlers of the village were Ezra Patterson who kept a tavern; Abraham Dox; Major Benjamin Barton; Joseph Annin; Dr. William Adams, the first physician;  and Gilbert R. Berry, a silversmith.

Elected in 1813 were:

Trustees:  Foster Barnard, Herman H. Bogert, Abraham Dox, Samuel Colt and David Cook;
Treasurer:  James Rees;
Clerk:  David Hudson;
Collector:  Jabez Pease;
Fire Wardens:  David Naglee, Jonathan Doane and Elnathan Noble;

Town of Gorham

Formed Jan. 27 1789 and named "Easton".  Name changed to Lincoln 17 Apr 1806 and to Gorham 6 Apr 1807.

The first settlement was made in 1789 at Reed's Corners by James Wood.  Other early settlers in this area were Silas Reed, John McPherson, Jeremiah Swart and one Gurnsey nearly all of whom left children.

In the extreme northwest part of the town there dwelt at an early day James Wood, son of the pioneer; Alexander Sampson; Jonathan Stearns and other families by surname of:  Koomer - Sackett - Wilson - Mead - Davis - Fisher - Carson - Gulick. South of Reed's Corners were pioneers Silas Reed, Harvey Stone, Jacob Young, Mr. Wilson, Royal Stearns, Thomas Tuffs, John Tuffs and others.  Further south dwelt Nathan Pratt, Elisha Pratt, Charles Russells, Benjamin Washburn, Daniel Treat, Eben Harwood, Archibald Armstrong, G. Merrell, and Charles Headgar.

East of Reed's Corners there settled at an early day Darius Miner in 1812; Ebenezer Lewis in 1798; Levi Sortell in 1810;  Wm. Howe and Frederick Spaulding in 1811.

In the eastern part of the town is the village of Gorham.  At Flint Creek Levi Benton built the first grist mill in the town.  The first lumber mill on the creek was built in 1808 by one named Craft.  Those by surname Pettit; Phillips; Perkins; Pickett; Harris; Sherman; Arnold and Hogeboom are named as heads of families who settled in this part at an early day. The village of Rushville is located in the south part of Gorham. 

Town of Hopewell

The pioneers of Hopewell were Daniel Gates, Daniel Warner, Ezra Pratt, Samuel Day, George Chapin, Irael Chapin, Jr., Frederick Follett, Thomas Sawyer, Benjamin Wells, and Mr. Sweet from Massachusetts.  William Wyckoff came from Pennsylvania.  A son was born to Benjamin Wells on Feb. 4, 1791, named Benjamin jr.; this was the first birth. Calvin Bacon opened a school in 1792. Richard Jones came from Maryland in 1805. 

Other early settlers were Nathaniel Lewis, Elam Smith, Vimri Densmore, Elijah Ellis, John Russell, David W. Beach, William Bodman, Erastus Leonard, Luther Porter, Robert Penn, Samuel Bush, Joshua Case, Oliver and William Babcock, John Ricker, Amos Knapp, Silas Benham, C. P. Bush, Daniel Warren, Shuball Clark, John Hart, John Faurot, George Chapin, Russell Warren, Dedrick Coursen, Robert Davidson, Moses DePew, John Gregg, James Moore, James Birdseye, Edward Root, Ezekiel Crane, John McCauley, David Aldrich, Amos, Amasa and James Gillett, Joseph Lee, Oliver Warren, Elam Crane, Ezra and Leonard Knapp, Thaddeus Benham, Elijah Higby, William Canfield, Andrew Bush, Elder Anson Shay, John Kellogg, Thomas Edmundson, Daniel Macumber, Capt. Thomas Davis, Rufus Warner, Apollas Baker, John Church, Jonas Whitney, Asel and Constant Balcom, Eben and Eli Benham and Ezra Newton. Also the families of Thomas, Derr, Spangle, Skinner, Cleveland, Knapp, Marks, Sly, Purdy, Ketcham, Brundage, Bishop, Pembroke, Woodin and Knickerbocker came to settle early.

Town of Manchester

The Town of Manchester was originally a part of the Town of Farmington and taken off in 1821.  The name was changed from "Burt" to Manchester in 1822.

The pioneers were:  Stephen Jared; Joel Phelps and Joab Gillett, all Yankees, who located about on the site of the village of
Clifton Springs in 1793.  In 1795 Nathan Pierce and John McLouth came from Berkshire MA.  Other pioneers before 1799
were John Van Fleet; Sharon Booth; Jedediah Dewey; Benjamin Barney; William Mitchell; Israel Thomas and Nathaniel
Harrington.  Mr. Booth settled in 1794 and soon afterward married Ruth Gillett, daughter of Joab.  Their child, Dorris, was born 1795.  John McLouth built a cider mill.  In 1804, Theophilus Short built the first mill on the outlet where Shortsville now stands.  At a place on the outlet, Oliver Phelps built one of the first mills.

The first school in the town opened in 1800 and was taught by Elam Crane.  The first death was that of Thomas Sawyer on 12 Mar 1796; he is buried in the cemetery in Hopewell.  Thomas Sawyer was a settler in 1795, and his brother, Hooker Sawyer, and Jacob Rice came about the same time.  Luke Phelps and Bezaleel Gleason were pioneers of 1796.

Benjamin Barney and his family came from New Jersey and settled in the town in 1797. Jedediah Dewey and Isaac Lapham came in 1798.  Sylvester Davis built a blacksmith shop on the site of Manchester village in 1798.  In the same year, Abram
Spoor located on the site of Gypsum village and was soon afterward followed by Jacob and John, sons of Garret Van
Derhoof.  In 1799 came Peleg Redfield; Nathan Jones; Joseph Hart; Jacob White; Asa Reed; Daniel Macomber and others.
Pioneer heads of families were Gilbert Howland and his large family; John Shekell; Samuel Rush; Zuriel Fish; Philip LaMueuix; Benjamin Throop; Abram Spoor; Gehazi Granger; Hezekiah Baggerly and Timothy Bigelow.

Joseph Smith, the Mormon prophet, resided in this town with his father; and Mormon Hill, the place where the gold bible was found, is situated a little northwest of the center of the town.

At the first town meeting in 1821 after it separated from Farmington, the following officers were elected:
Supervisor:  John Van Fleet
Town clerk:  Gehazi Granger
Assessors:  Thomas Kingsley, David Howland, and Peter Mitchell
Collector:  William Popple
Commissioners of highways:  Jacob Cost, Carlos Harmon, and Nicholas Howland
Overseers of the poor:  Titus Bement and James Harland
Commissioners of schools:  Addison N. Buck, Azel Throop, and George Redfield
Constables:  William Popple, Robert Spear, and John Schutt
Inspectors of common schools:  C. Harmon, P. Mitchell and Leonard Short
Among the pioneers and early settlers of the town were a number of men who served with credit during the Revolutionary War, and some of these were:  Nathan Pierce; Peleg Redfield; Joshua Van Fleet; Jacob Gillett; Samuel Rush; Thomas Sawyer; Israel Harrington; Nicholas Chrysler; and Ebenezer Pratt. Many served in the War of 1812 and some of these were:  Nathan Pierce Jr. (son of pioneer Nathan); Nicholas Reuland; Lt. Peter Mitchell; Heman J. Redfield and brothers, Manning and Harley; Joshua Stevens; John Wyatt; Moses Eddy; Jacob Eddy; John Robinson; Timothy Bigelow; Asel Throop; Achilles Botsford; Russell M. Rush; and Hooker Sawyer.

Village of Clifton Springs - Town of Manchester NY

The pioneer on the site of the present village of Clifton Springs was John Shekell, a Marylander.  The Shekell mansion was built in 1800, and opened in 1801 as a public house.  Mr. Shekell possessed three slaves but these were set free and well-provided with dwelling places.

The second settler was William Hanna, and the third, Arnold Warfield, both bringing families from Maryland.  About 1811, William Entricken, also from Maryland, settled here and opened a blacksmith shop.  John Bradt was the first storekeeper. The sulphur springs of this village have made it famous throughout the United States and as early as 1806 the waters with the valuable medicinal properties were being dispensed.

Town of Naples

The pioneers, Samuel, Reuben and Levi Parrish, came to settle in the Town of Naples in Jan 1790.  In April and May of that year came the following:  Capt. Ephraim Cleveland, Col. William Clark, Nathan and William Watkins, John Johnson, Jonathan Lee and their families.

They were soon followed by:  Capt. Edward Kibbe in 1793; Dr. Thos. Maxwell in 1796; and Otis Fuller in 1813.

In Dist. #1 the pioneers were James Lee and Richard Hooker - 1811; John Sibhart - 1812;
In Dist. #2 William James, Asa Perry, Paul Grimes, Guy Hinckley and E. Stiles.
In Dist #3 Rev. Thomas Peek, John Powers and Seymour Gillett.
In Dist. #4 Peter Whitney, Wm. Oakley, Amaziah Cornell, Nathan Tyler, Abijah Shaw and Israel Meads.
In Dist #5 Zacheus Barber, Oliver Tenney, Lemuel and John Barber, the latter in 1798.
In Dist. #6 Abraham Sutton - 1811; John Sutton - 1812; Samuel Shaw, Jacob Dagget, Nathan Clark and Russell Parrish in 1812.
In Dist. #7 Aaron Hunt who built the first grist-mill; Jacob Holdren, Jonas Belknap, Gail Washburn, and Wm. Sullivan.
In Dist. #8 Stephen Garlinghouse, Jesse Peck, Mr. Tallman, Wm. West Sr., and Joseph Grant.
In Dist. #9 Isaac Whitney, Benj. Clark, Simon Lyon, Stephen Storey, and Dr. Newcomb.
In Dist. #10 Isaac Sutton, Thomas Blodget, John Blodget, Thos. Bentley, Wm. Bush, David Fletcher.
In Dist. #11 Alanson Lyon, Elisha Sutton, Chas. Wilcox, Bushnell Cleveland and Uriah Davids.
In Dist. # 13 Deacon David Carrier, Pitts Parker, Ichabod Green, Samuel Stancliff, John Cronk, Ithamer Carrier, and Michael Keith.
In Dist #15 Reuben Parrish, Peabody Kinne, Robert Wiley, Nathan and Wm. Watkins.
In Dist. #17 John Hinckley, Nathan Goodell, Ami Baker, Joshua Lyon, Joseph Battles, Hiram and Stephen Sayles.

At the first town meeting the following officers were elected:  town clerk:  Joel Watkins;  assessors:  Jabez Metcalf, Edward Kibbe, and Edward Low;  highway commissioners:  Nathan Watkins, Wm. Dunton and Elijah Clark;  poor masters:  Wm. Watkins, Ephraim Cleveland, Robert Wiley;  constable:  Elisha Parrish;  pathmasters:  Levi and Reuben Parrish, John Mower and Isaiah Post;  fence-viewers:  John Johnson, Benjamin Hardin and Isaac Whitney;  poundmaster:  Jabez Metcalf.

War of 1812 militia company included:  Capt. Elijah Clark - Lt. Joseph Clark - privates:  Fisher Metcalf, Elias B. Kinne, Levi Watkins, Otis Pierce, Jonathan Pierce, Wm. Danton, _____ Kimball, _____ Matoon, _____ Dodge, _____ Wheeler, John Cronk, Pitts Parker, Daniel Parker, Ichabod Lyon, Benj. Johnson, Edward Low, Jacob B. Sutton, Zelotus Sackett, Capt. Wm. Watkins, Henry Porter, Robt. Vickery, Epraim W. Cleveland, John W. Hinckley, Amos Johnson, Amasa S. Tift, Loring Pottle and Sergeant Lyman Hawes.

Benjamin Clark and Jabez Metcalf built the first saw-mill in the town.  Reuben Parrish also built a saw-mill in 1796.  Jason Goodrich built a cloth and carding mill; Paul Grimes built a woolen mill and Perry Holcomb a fulling mill.

The pioneer tradesman of the settlement was a Holland Dutchman named Hesselgesser who was noted for his large price and not the extent of his wares.  Later merchants were Warren Clark, Pardon T. Brownell, Robert Fleming and Calvin Luther.  Paul Grimes was the proprietor of the first public house; and another early owner of the same business was Joseph Clark.  Joshua Abbey was the village blacksmith; and Jabez Metcalf, Jason Goodrich, Olivey Tenney, Amaziah Cornish and Charles Wilcox were the first carpenters and joiners.  The first distillers were:  Reuben Parrish, Warren Clark and Zacheus Barber. Phineas P. Lee, son of Col. James Lee, is said to be the first white child born in the town.  The first death is said to be that of a Seneca Indian, Kanesque, at the age of 100 years.  Benjamin Clark married Thankful Watkins in 1795; and Susanna Parrish taught the first school in 1792.

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