From Ontario County Times 7 August 1889


Abstract of J. P. Frazer's Address at the Presbyterian Church in Victor, April 30, 1889

Mr. Frazer 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 drug 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, in 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 opened 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 was 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 now 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 hardware store.

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 in 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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