Editor’s note: The Centennial Celebration of Pittstown in 1889 was a historical event. By that time, Pittstown had been divided into the towns of Richmond, Canadice, Livonia and Conesus. Written histories, recollections, poems and songs were presented by Hiram Pitts, Miss Eva M. Pitts, Dr. Wilbur and Amasa Winch. Here is a copy of the article as presented in the Livonia Gazette which chronicled the event. Besides many of the names and facts of the early settlers, this article contains much lore and legend of the times.
The rain came down so hard last Friday that it kept a good many hundred from getting to Honeoye, but those who did go were well repaid for all the trouble they took to get there.
For a long time the subject of the celebration of the settlement of Pittstown has been under consideration, and the greatest interest has been manifested from the first. The rain knocked out the proposed exercises in the grove, and while Honeoye people regretted that the programme could not be carried out as at first intended, they took care of their visitors in splendid style.
The meeting in the Congregational church was called to order by the Hon. David A. Pierpont, who had been selected by the committee to act as president of the day. Mr. Pierpont, who has lived in the town of Richmond for seventy-three years, was acquainted with many of the early settlers. He said that they were wonderful men, and certainly they must have been to endure the hardships incident to the settlement of the new country. Mr. Pierpont’s remarks were of great interest, for he gave the names and former places of residence of many of the old settlers.
The Rev. Seneca Short then offered a prayer worthy of any man or any occasion, and after singing by the choir, the Hon. Hiram Pitts of Washington read a paper on the early history of the town. Mr. Pitts is an old man in point of years, yet his mind is as strong as ever. Below will be found the story of the trials and triumphs of the heroic men of 1789.
My father, Gideon Pitts, and his brother William, arrived at Honeoye, May 31st 1789, with two yokes of oxen, a wagon containing their supplies, farming utensils, seed grain, etc., and two cows.
On the next morning after their arrival they put their plows in the ground, and never stopped for any other operation until they had put in some nine acres to crops, mostly corn and oats, sleeping at night in inclement weather under a temporary shelter made with their wagon boards. (I should have mentioned that they spent the season previous in raising crops and preparing for the journey at Shesbekin, a small settlement near Newtown, where they rented a farm of Col. Spalding, laying on the Chemung river a little below Elmira).
The journey from Newtown over the trail of Sullivan’s army to the head of Seneca lake, thence to Canandaigua, was a tedious one and necessarily slow, owing to the obstructions from fallen timber and the action of water. They had ample open lands opposite the John Pennell mansion, which had been cultivated by the Senecas. The large black walnut tree a little below, the largest of its kind in Western New York, and possible in the United States, was then but a sapling, and I have heard my father relate the fact that he turned the plow aside to prevent its uprooting when he first cultivated the field.
Sullivan’s army encamped on the plain below the road leading to Allen’s Hill, and when it moved on he left a strong detachment with the sick and wounded, together with two brass pieces of ordinance, at Honeoye. The site of the old camp-fires, the bones of the pack-horses, and pack-saddles, were scattered around the camp-ground. The two brass pieces of ordinance were never found. It is supposed that they were sunk in some slough.
Owing to the troubles in the west growing out of the influence of the British government over the Indian tribes located there, and the refusal of that government to surrender the military post in accordance with the terms of Jay’s treaty, the settlement of the Genesee country was tardy. The settlers already there feared an eruption of those western tribes. Two or three successive defeats of our armies in the Maumee country so emboldened those tribes that they gathered in force on the beautiful plain on the rapids of the Maumee, and offered battle to Gen. Wayne.
It was said that the British commander at the military post offered to the Tories and Indians that if they would attack us in the open plain he would protect them with the guns in the fort. At any rate, early in the morning they made the attack with tremendous yells. (I learned these facts from an old soldier under Wayne many years ago who was on the ground.) He was on guard the night previous; about midnight the general came around to see if everything was right and said: “You must keep a very sharp lookout, We shall be attacked before morning.” Our army was prepared for them and gave them so warm a reception that they were forced to retire.
A second attack was made, more furious than before, but was repelled, and then Gen. Wayne ordered a squadron of cavalry to attack them, when they fled for protection to the guns of the fort. The officers in command stood looking on, but did not raise a hand. The Indians had then nearly a mile of open plain before they could reach the forest, and the cavalry, with their pistols and sabers, made sad work with them before they reached it.
The cavalry was under command of Solomon Van Rensselaer, then but a youth, the captain being confined to his tent by sickness. When this attack was made (my informant stated) Gen. Wayne sat on his horse watching the movement and could not refrain from his approbation of the young officer and his men, and when, on the return of Van Rensselaer, riding up and saluting the general, he fell from his horse, the blood gushing from his mouth, they supposed him mortally wounded. He however recovered, to be wounded several times at the battle of Queenston Heights, and in his old age to be rewarded with the appointment of post master at Albany by Gen. Jackson.
During these troubles the few settlers in the Genesee country kept watch and ward. Those having horses kept them stabled at night, ready to send their wives and little ones east as rapidly as they could go. The news of Wayne’s victory was brought by runners, at the rate of one hundred miles per day. Thus re-assured, the next winter a large emigration from Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont arrived, and the problem of the permanent settlement of the Genesee country was solved.
The first white child born on Phelps & Gorham Purchase was Oliver Phelps Rice. For the name Judge Phelps gave him one hundred acres of land. This was in 1790. He lived near the Station (Livonia).
I was born in 1802. In that year there were sixteen births in Pittstown (comprising the present towns of Richmond, Canadice, Livonia and Conesus). On inquiry I learn that I am the only living member.
My earliest recollection of my native town goes to show that, although there were several framed barns erected, possibly a very few framed houses, yet I cannot now remember one. Esquire Reed erected the first brick dwelling. Such a vehicle as a wheel carriage was not owned in town. George Cadding of Bristol owned a “One-horse Shay” brought from Providence, Rhode Island, but that was several years after.
My grandfather, Peter Pitts, who was a native of Dighton, Bristol county, Mass., put out the first orchard of apples and peaches in the town, which was the first I ever saw. He wrote to my father to prepare ground enough for 100 trees, contiguous to the building site, for an orchard. The following spring he came, and learning that a settler in East Bloomfield had a nursery of yearling seedling apple trees, took his old white horse, which brought him, with cions, cut the fall previous at Dighton, and tracing the paths to East Bloomfield bought 100 seedlings, grafted them and put them out, building a strong pen of poles around each tree. From my earliest recollection we had apples and peaches in abundance from that orchard.
In my early days New York had no common school system, but as New England people could not be content to go without schools, they resorted to the voluntary principle. Where there was a sufficient population in an area of one or two miles, they would assemble on notice, appoint one or two persons as trustees, get up a subscription paper, and if twenty scholars could be obtained the trustees would be authorized to hire a teacher for three months, some room found, and a school established.
And yet with all these meager appointments very good schools were kept, the English language taught with great care, and the rudimentary branches well attended to. The parents and patrons of the schools manifested their interest by frequent visits, leaving little to be done by proxy. My first attendance at one of these schools was one at the Center, taught by Miss Steele, afterwards Mrs. John F. Reed.
Some arrangements had been made with the town authorities to build a town house and school house combined. It was also used by the Congregational society, previously formed, as a place for religious worship, having a box pulpit at one end. This old school house, which remained for many years, was erected that season (about 1808), and covered with a temporary floor, and a summer school was taught by Miss Steele. The next winter Aberdeen Smith taught, and the following winter Strong Shepard was the teacher.
In those early days wolves were very troublesome. My grandfather had previously engaged Joshua Phillips, a young man of Dighton, who was coming to the Genesee country, to drive a small flock of sheep.
The difficulties attending every step taken by the early settlers to improve this country and make it habitable can be realized, when we reflect upon the labor and care required in that simple enterprise, on a journey on foot of more that 400 miles. (I have frequently heard Capt. Joshua Phillips, the father-in-law of your esteemed citizen, D. A. Pierpont, relate his trials on that journey).
After the sheep arrived, then commenced the care and labor to prevent their destruction by their enemies, the wolves. I recollect on one occasion that a son of Theophilas Short, who then resided on the flats on the site of the old Indian village of “Hon-e-quaya” near the foot of the lake, and attended the school at the Center, was retuning home on Saturday afternoon with me (we were young and did not dare to go alone very far). As we reached the corner of a field running down to a space about midway between the stores in Honeoye, we found my father, with some help, dressing the carcasses of some eight or nine fat wethers, which had been slain by the wolves the night previous. The sheep had been cornered there, and at first one or two had been mangled and devoured, after which, as was their custom, they had opened the jugular vein and sucked the blood only. I have known several instances when the flock was decimated in that manner.
Occasionally bears made their appearance. On one occasion, when a frame was being added to the old log house and only roofed, the pigs had been accustomed to gather there for shelter from storms. One night an old she bear came and undertook to carry off a pig, creating quite a disturbance. The family was aroused and made an attack on the bear, causing her to drop the pig to escape.
In some instances the cougar, or American panther, has been known to alarm the inhabitants by its shrieks and screams. The last wolf hunt that occurred must have been in 1808 or 9. Notice was given, and the people for miles around chose their officers and stationed a guard in hailing distance on a line from the base of the hill on the east, down through the meadows to the outlet, while a force, commencing a few miles below, swept the swamp to the open fields on the southern border of my Uncle William Pitt’s fields, bring out the game, an old she-wolf, having whelps, which had been the terror of that region for years. A noted hunter that was expected to shoot her began to take aim, but was so slow about it that one of the young Hazens, fearing she might escape, raised his rifle and dispatched her. I recollect very well hearing some young men, after the repast, proposing to go back to the swamp and hunt for them. In those early days bounties were offered by the board of supervisors for the heads of wolves and bears.
“Indian John, “ and old Seneca, who had been lamed in an encounter with a bear some years earlier, was a successful hunter and trapper, and came to reduce the business to a system. His game was young mostly, and when inquired of by the officers if he ever saw the old wolf, answered: “Oh, yes.” “Why, then, don’t you catch her?” He replied “If I catch her, I shall have no more puppy scalps.”
Major Nathaniel Allen was the first blacksmith at the corners, near the old family mansion, at the foot of the hill on the Big Tree road to Canandaigua. His occupancy must have been at an early day, as my first knowledge of him was when he had his shop on Allen’s Hill. I remember the old anvil blocks which he used in his shop at the corners, but the shop had been removed.
In the early days of my nativity, game was abundant and the streams were stocked with fish. Frequently deer would be seen crossing the opening just below our house. One morning, as I was on my way to school in the basement of the old Phelps house, now occupied by Myron Blackmer, a fine young buck crossed the road just before me. Our watch dog saw him and gave chase, coming up just as the buck was about to leap the bar-way, a few rods below the house, and seizing him by the throat soon dispatched him.
The old Congregational meeting house (we had no churches, except such as are mentioned in the New Testament) was erected in 1815. Notice of the “raising” was given previously. I was sent up with a horse load of provisions for the occasion. Tables were spread on the north front of Mr. Isaac Bishop’s residence, on the common, for the people who attended the raising.
It was a gala day for the children. After the dinner they, marshalled by the old pedagogue, Aberdeen Smith, were allowed to come to the table. In the midst of our feast we heard a great noise and cracking of timber, and looking up saw a side-bent falling back. Several active young men, among them the Frarys, Crooks, Marsh, Steele, Noble and Adams, were on that bent aiding the pike men below. They held the swinging bent and prevented a loss of life. Aberdeen Smith felt it his duty to storm and scold, and I believe swore some,which shocked and surprised his scholars, as in that day they were taught to believe in and almost reverence their teachers. The men soon returned to their work with no injury except a bloody nose caused by a falling pike pole.
I left home for Clinton, Oneida county, soon after the raising, which must have been in May, and remained there till October, 1816, known in after years as the cold season, snow occurring in June and frosts every month in the year.
I have neglected to mention in order the erection of a tasteful building on Allen’s Hill by an Episcopalian society in 1814, if I mistake not. The First Congregational society had been organized in an early day, I believe by the Rev. John Smith of Dighton, Mass., who was connected with the land purchase of the two townships and became one of the trustees of the Dighton purchase. The first settled pastor, if I mistake not, was the Rev. Aaron C. Collins, who resided in West Richmond, owning the farm north of Richmond Mills, afterwards the property of Silas Reed. He removed to East Bloomfield, yet continued to supply the pulpit for a time after. In the fall of 1816, when I returned home, the Rev. Warren Day, then a young man, occupied the pulpit, and had not been long installed. The large house erected the previous year was being finished, and the next season was occupied as a house of public worship. His pastorate continued for twelve or fourteen years, and now his son, a worthy successor, fills his place in the same society, transferred to Honeoye, as one of the longest pastorates in Western New York. It is not often in these days of change that such permanency is found, and speaks well for both pastor and people.
My father was a deputy under Amos Hall to take the first national census of Ontario county in the year 1790, then comprising all of Western New York, known s Phelps & Gorham’s Purchase. The town of Pittstown, comprised four townships, had but two inhabitants - Gideon and William Pitts. If I rightly recollect, the whole population was about 1000. I once had a copy of that census, but cannot now find it.
While speaking of the first settlement of this region by the whites, justice requires that the natives, the Senecas, should not be overlooked. Of all the Indian tribes that I have known in the east or west, they were the superiors. Savages though they were, yet they possessed more manhood, dignity and character, and in their intercourse with the whites evinced a knowledge of men and things that often surprised those who came in contact with them. They recognized, also, the rights of woman as no other tribes had done. Holding that the mothers of their warriors had claims for consideration, the matrons were allowed the privilege of considering any project affecting the weal and woe of the tribe and their assent must be obtained before entering on the expedition. I have often wondered at their patience and forbearance towards the settlers, when, only ten years before, they had been subjected to the most terrible and sweeping desolation ever known in the destruction of their dwellings and crops of all kinds, their orchards of apples and peaches, and their beautiful country rendered a desert - and the survivors driven to its border to winter at Fort Niagara or starve. No wonder they name Gen. Washington the “town destroyer.”
But one difficulty occurred at Honeoye, and that was caused by rum. One day, in my father’s absence, an Indian called at the house and wanted some liquor. My grandfather, the only man about the premises, told him he could not have any which made him angry and he drew his knife and attacked him. A sled for hauling wood was at the door, and he, although rheumatic, made a hasty retreat around the sled, but being closely pursued, pulled out one of the stakes and with a blow laid him senseless on the ground. His squaw then took up the matter and trouble was feared. Providentially, Horatio Jones, the interpreter, arrived on his way to Canandaigua, and soon settled the difficulty. The Indian came to and the squaw was pacified.
I regret, my friends, that I cannot give you more valuable statistics connected with the early settlement of the Genesee country. The chosen people of God, in early ages, were directed by the great Law-Giver to teach their children (and the command was to their children’s children) of His wonderful works, and it is to be regretted that some able historian had not arisen in time to rescue from oblivion the sacrifices, the toils and endurances of the pioneers of the Genesee country. Much credit is due to the memory of Turner for his praise-worthy efforts in that direction; but he expressed his regrets that the enterprise had not been sooner undertaken, as the principal actors in that drama had gone the way of all the earth. Three of four generations have arisen and mostly passed away, and probably but a small portion of the present realize, to any great extent, the hardships and trials of the fathers in preparing this goodly land for the habitation and abode of civilization, virtue and intelligence. To the fathers who recognized their importance is the credit due for the establishment of schools and churches, together with the material improvement of the country in that early day, that Western New York, in its patriotism, intelligence, good order and sobriety, will compare favorably with any portion of our Union.
The next speaker was the Hon. E. M. Morse of Canandaigua, whose address was one calculated to fully sustain his reputation. It was full of bright things, and was eloquently and impressively delivered.
At the close of Mr. Morse’s address Miss Eva M. Pitts read the following beautiful and appropriate poem, which she had prepared for the occasion:
After a vote of thanks had been extended to the speakers and the reader of the poem, dinner was served. At 3 o’clock Dr. Wilbur read a paper which gave a history of the early government of Pittstown. The town was named after the Pitts settlers at the first town meeting in 1796, and contained over one hundred and twenty square miles. In 1815 the name was changed to Richmond. In 1808 the town of Livonia was sliced off from the west end, and in 1820 a part of the town of Conesus was taken from the south side of Livonia. In 1829 the town of Canadice was erected from the southern territory of Richmond.
From the paper compiled by Dr. Wilbur it appears that April 5th, 1796, was the date of the first town meeting held, and the place was at the house of Capt. Peter Pitts Lemuel Chapman was elected supervisor, Gideon Pitts town clerk, Phiip Reed, Wm. Pitts and Solomon Woodruff assessors, Jonas Belknap collector and constable, and Solomon Woodruff, Gideon Pitts and Elisha Parker commissioners of highways, Stilee Parker and Roswell Turner fence viewers, Edward Hasen pound-master and Peter Pitts, Cyrus Chapman, Solomon Woodruff, Aaron Hun t and Rosewll Turner pathmasters.
At this meeting it was voted to allow pigs to run in the highway, and a bounty of forty shillings was offered for every wolf caught in the town. It was further voted that the sum of 16 pounds be raised by tax to defray the necessary town expenses.
The second town meeting was held on the 3th of April the next year, and the house of Mr. Pitts was again used for the polling place. Mr. Chapman was re-elected supervisor, Levi Blackmer town clerk, John Green assessor, Silas Whitney poundmaster, and Asa Dennison, Philip Short, Edward Hazen and John Green pathmasters.
Mr. Chapman and Levi Blackmer were re-elected supervisor and town clerk in 1796.
We also learn that Philip Reed was elected poormaster about 1808, and he holds the office yet.
Mr. Wilbur’s paper was of a good deal of historical interest, and we wish there was room in this report for the whole of it.
H. D. Kingsbury gave a brief sketch of the early settlement of Livonia, and made some remarks on the value of individual records of personal biography and local events, in the general interest, of complete and exact history. It was a scholarly paper, and full of good suggestions. Mr. Kingsbury set his audience to thinking when he reminded them that while a sheep was of enough value to be registered, our family history was left to take care of itself and too often entirely forgotten. The paper was able, eminently practical, and the close attention of the audience proved its interest.
The Hon. Amasa T. Winch then read the following brief but carefully prepared history of the town of Canadice, furnished by Mr. D. Byron Waite, whose reputation as a painstaking historian is well known.
It will not be our province to go back through the vista of buried ages and cull anything for this day’s reflection. We shall content ourself with what we have gathered from public records, from well-worn family Bibles, and from the memories of a few now living, but mostly from those who were eye-witnesses to and sharers in the privations incident to the life of pioneers in the land we write of, and who have passed from earthly scenes and cares within the last score or two of years.
We shall place as an introduction and first in order the different organizations or government under which the town of Canadice has been from time to time - in the county of Albany from November 1st, 1683, to March 13th, 1772, then in the old England district of Tryon county till April 2nd, 1784, then in Whitestown, Montgomery county, until the county of Ontario was formed January 27th, 1789, at which time the county was divided into the towns of Augusta, Bloomfield, Bristol, Groveland, Canandaigua, Charleston, Easton, Farmington, Geneseo, Hartford, Jerusalem, Middletown, Palmyra, Phelps, Pittstown, Seneca, Sodus and Sparta, but for political purposes it was divided into two districts, Canandaigua and Big Tree, and remained thus until April 5th, 1796.
The township line between the fourth and fifth ranges was the dividing line, and hence the present territory of Canadice fell into the Big Tree district. The name of Pittstown was changed in 1808 to Honeoye, and in 1815 to Richmond, and Canadice was set off April 15th, 1829.
Pittstown received its name for Capt. Peter Pitts and sons, who first planted their feet upon the soil of this valley just one hundred years ago today, and for which we are here to celebrate and keep in sacred memory. We must ramble somewhat to arrive at a starting point, to introduce understandingly our hero, the first settler of our town.
Accidentally the town of Middletown, now Naples, had been purchased, and had a few settlers, and Jacob Flanders had built a shanty near the head of Honeoye lake on the eastern side, when Aaron Hunt, a Revolutionary soldier from New Jersey, but who had for a while been a resident of the pleasant valley of Wyoming, with his wife and four children, Aaron J., Andrew, Jane and Sarah, and Jacob Holdren, who had woed and won the heart and had the promise of the hand of the 15-year-old daughter Jane, in the early spring of 1795, ascended the Susquehanna as far as what is now Elmira. Here, upon an ox sled, they placed all their worldly effects they could carry, and with the family on foot, came as far as the present town of Cohocton, where the goods were unloaded and the team sent back to Elmira for the balance left there.
The family, with necessary provisions took the Indian trail leading to the head of the Honeoye, and amid the unbroken forest of the western edge of the present town of Naples, night came on, they lost their way, and after passing a dreary night beside a fallen tree, surrounded by ravenous wolves, they reached their destination, which, after the sub-division of lands, was lot No. 2 in the present town of Richmond.
Jacob Holdren took what proved to be lot No. 7, which lies mostly in the present town of Canadice, but he at first built a cabin on the east side of the inlet near the old orchard on the bottom, north of the present school house, and he and Jennie set those trees in the fall after their arrival.
The twains were made one the following winter and occupied the cabin, but the the next spring Andrew Hunt, a brother to Aaron came and bought out Jacob, who built another cabin, where George Alger now lives on the same lot, but in the present town of Canadice, and thus became in the spring of 1795 the first permanent settler in the town.
Jacob Holdren was a mill-wright and built a number of the first mills in the country, and from a poor boy he became the owner of more than 300 acres of land. He raised a family of eleven children; passed through all the privations incident to a back-wood’s life, pounded his grain on the top of a hollowed elm stump, ate green pumpkins boiled without salt or any other condiment for a seasoning, sold out in 1834 to Col. Henry and went to Indiana, where long since the bodies of Jacob and Jennie began to moulder back to earth.
Samuel Holdren was their first child, born in 1796, and accidentally burned to death in 1801, and was buried north of the old orchard on the bottom set out by Jacob and Jennie. This was the first birth and the first death in the town of Canadice.
Other settlers came into this hollow, but none built habitations in this town for a long number of years. The next ones who sought a home in town were eight years afterwards, when three stalwart Yankees from the western base of the Green mountains set out on foot, carrying provisions for their journey on their backs, to prospect in Ontario county for a home.
They were the brothers Gideon and John Walker and Josiah Jackman. At the foot of Canadice lake they built a log house on the present farm of Henry McCrossen, and the bodies of two more - one on the farm formerly owned by Hiram Colegrove and the other on the farm once owned by Mansell R. Smith.
In the latter part of the winter of 1804-5, they left their homes in the east, and with three ox teams and sleds, and all their earthly possessions, and a journey of twenty days, took up their abode in the finished house. After finishing the other two, Gideon took the Colegrove farm, John the one they first moved into, and Jackman the Smith place.
John Walker in 1818 erected the first framed house in town, and it stood where the present one does, and was torn down by Decker B. Hoppough, but the first framed building was built for Ezekiel and Frederick Wilson in 1811 on the present farm of Thomas Costello.
The Wilson brothers came into that hollow in 1807, as also did Ebenezer Kimbal to the present farm of William G. Ross, on what was familiarly called in the early days “Kimball Hill.”
The farms next in order of settlement were that of Oscar F. Ray, that formerly owned by Seneca Swan, and that on which Lewis Hoppough now resides, the former settled by Butler Lewis and John Leggett, the next by Ezra Davis, and the last had a cabin for the purpose of making sugar by Samuel Pitts and Justus Grout, all in the year 1808.
The farm next settled was in the extreme south-western corner of the town, where David Gadgero in the spring of 1809 put up a log cabin on the farm now owned by Harlow Colegrove. He came from Bristol by way of Honeoye to Livoina and in Indian “dug-outs” up Hemlock lake, and here on the 29th day of April, 1810, Justus Grout married Catharine, the third daughter of Badgero, and was the first marriage in town.
We have thus given a few of the first places settled in town, and a further list we deem wholly unnecessary, so we will pass on to other items.
The first school house in town stood in Hunt’s Hollow on the corner of the cross road that leads by the present one, and the ruins of the old stone chimney are still to be seen. This was built in 1806, and the children came from the present towns of Richmond, Canadice and Springwater.
The second one stood on the farm formerly owned by Isaac Stevenson, above the road, and near the elm tree now standing, and was built in 1809, and in 1812 two more were erected - one on the farm of Oscar F. Ray, and stood on the knoll near the pine tree north of Ray’s residence, and the other was on the farm of the late Lyman Nutt in the north-eastern part of the town.
The first sermon preached in town ws by Ebenezer Ingraham in 1809 in the log school house on the farm of Thomas Costello before spoken of, and the first baptism as that of Albert Finch by Elder Ketchum, and the second, the wife of Pitts Walker by Elder Abijah Wright, both in 1812.
The first church organized in town was a branch of the Presbyterian church of Richmond, formed in 1828 by Elder Warren Day; the second was the Christian church of the towns of Canadice and Springwater in 1830; the third was the present Methodist church in December, 1831, though there had been Methodist classes as early as 1812; the fourth was a Close Communion Baptist church by Elder Caleb Briggs in 1834, and the Wesleyan Methodist Connection of America organized one in 1845.
The first orchard set in town was in 1795 by Jacob Holdren and Jennie Hunt; the first ones in Canadice Hollow were in 1809 on the Smith and McCrossen farms; the same year Ebenezer Kimball set one on the farm of Caleb B. Hyde, and Seth Knowles in 1811, the first on Ball Hill.
The first grain cradle seen in town was made by Samuel B. Spencer, and used on the farm of Josiah Jackman in 1811. The first crop of grain that was raised was of rye on the farm of Jacob Holdren in 1796. The first butter made was by Jennie Holdren in 1797. The first cheese imported into town was from Vermont, when John Walker, his wife and Mrs. Jackman, returned from a visit there, when one was sewed to the bottom of a double wagon chair,and thus brought to Canadice Hollow, and that chair was made by Ebenezer Ingraham, the first turner and chair-maker in town. The first carpenter and millwright was Jacob Holdren; the first cabinet-maker was Ezra Davis; the first highway laid out in town was along the west shore of Honeoye lake to the north line of Springwater by Gideon Pitts, May 6th, 1808. The first saw mill in town was built by John Alger of Bloomfield in 1810, near the head of Canadice lake, and the second was by Amos Jones in 1814 at the foot of the lake. The first distillery was built by Levi Simons on the Slout farm, and the second and last on the farm of C. F. V. Barber on Ball Hill, and the first fanning mill was brought in by Simons to use in his distillery. The first bear killed after the first settlers came was by Maloy, who literally strangled him in Hemlock lake by holding him by the tail and keeping his head under water, in 1800, and the last ones were on the farm of Caleb B. Hyde. The last panther shot was by Samuel Winslow in 1813 in the swamp at the hed of Honeoye lake. The first pettilogger was Samuel B. Spencer; the first doctor, Joseph Smith, the first blacksmith, Luther Goold; the first tavern-keeper, John Phelps; the first tailor, Isaac Sergeant; the first ashery was by John Wilson; the first wagon-maker, Luke Johnson; the first supervisor, Reuben Hamilton; the first town clerk, Enos A. Pond; the first brick made was on the Waite farm by Cornelius Cannon in 1823; the first fiddler, Jesse Penfield; the first spring wagon was brought from New Hampshire by Tim Eaton in 1823; the first threshing machine used in town was brought in by Peter Hoppough and Moses Huff in 1830. The first merchant in town was D. Bradley Ford from New Hampshire in 1830 on the James B. Hoagland farm; the first shoe shop was kept by Artemus Severance on the farm formerly occupied by W. G. Hoppough, in 1819 (before this itinerant shoemakers did the work); the first cooper, Daniel Morley, Reuben Huff was foreman in the shop where was built the first passenger car that ran on the Albany and Schenectady railroad, and Eber Weed made drawings and asked aid from the State to test the practicability of using steam on the canals of this State, in a very early day.
We have thus briefly glanced at the main items in our town’s history - one more item and we close. Perhaps no town in Western New York, in an early day, of its size and population, was more cursed with grogholes than was the town of Canadice; but we take pride in recording the fact that for many years past, and especially on this, the centennial anniversary of the birthday of our mother town, but very few towns or people can wave a cleaner temperance flag than can the little town of Canadice.
No one responded when Conesus was called, though we have been furnished with a paper by A. D. Coe, which will receive consideration at another time.
The occasion was a pleasant one, and could not fail to be profitable to any one who values the importance of local history or has a regard for the memory of the sturdy, honest, hard-working, God-fearing men whose exercise of brain and muscle started the Honeoye valley on its wonderful career of prosperity.
The signers of the Declaration of Independence were no better or braver men than many of these stout-hearted pioneers of the days of 1789, and their work will always be remembered and their memory always honored.