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“History of Springwater” by Orson Walbridge

Early History of Springwater New York

Chapter 7 - Hunts Hollow - The First Settlement in the Present Town of Springwater, written by D. B. Waite.

by Orson Walbridge

1887

The historian, when he has all the facts and data carefully preserved for him and ready for reference, can feel as he selects and arranges his items that he is not disturbing the crumbling ruins and debris of past ages; but when he is obliged to cull a little here from decaying native tombstones engraved by unlettered art, and a little there from almost obliterated relics of family history, and from the memories of those who, long ago received the last warning of their final dissolution, and arrange them in legible shape, it is certainly not a very pleasing pastime. This we have been obliged to do, and we have aimed to retain such items only as will bear the test of the closest scrutiny, knowing full well that when we controvert the long-published data of misinformed and guessed-work historians who have preceded us, we are incurring the displeasure at least of those, or the descendants of those who took a part in framing the history of their own peculiar people. We shall ask the indulgence of the reader somewhat, for in introducing our earliest settlers we feel obliged to include some who were not residents of the town, but were so closely and so intimately interwoven with its history, that it would be almost impossible to make a separation, and yet present the facts intelligibly, and again, we fully realize the unpleasant fact to us, that as the land had not yet been subdivided, no one knew how lots would be located, and hence two or more would often locate on the same lot, and for convenience often creased the lime of township. This was emphatically the case in the first settlement of the present town of Springwater, which commenced in its north-east corner, in what has been called from a very early days “Hunt’s Hollow.” A few pioneers from Berkshire county, Massachusetts had settled in the present village of Naples, and were undergoing the privations incident to the life of backwoodsmen, when Aaron Hunt, a soldier of the Revolution from New Jersey, who had a few years before taken up his abode in the once pleasant valley of Wyoming, thinking he could better his situation, with his wife and four children, Aaron J., Andrew, Jane and Sarah, and Jacob Holdren an enthusiastic admirer of Jane, in the early spring of 1795 left Wyoming and ascended the Susquehanna as far as Newtown, now Elmira. Here they put upon an ox sled necessary provisions and what articles of furniture they could conveniently carry, with the family on foot, and proceeded as far as what is now Blood’s Corners, where temporary cabins had been erected by Richard Hooker and Joseph Blivin. Fearing the little snow remaining would leave, and thus make it almost impossible for them to bring the balance of their goods on their only land vehicle thus far towards their destination, they unloaded the sled, and the team and driver returned to Newtown for the articles left there. The company now six in number, with what provisions and articles they could carry on their backs, took the Indian trail that led from the Susquehanna to Honeoye Lake. Night came on; they lost their way, and amid the howling of wolves, they spent a dreary night beside a fallen tree in the unbroken forest near the eastern line of the present town of Springwater. The next day they resumed their journey to what was after the subdivision of lands lot No. 2, in the present town of Richmond. This is the farm on which Mrs. M. A. Bray lately resided, and the first one settled between the head of the lake and the present village of Naples. Col. John Green had preceded them one year, and was the first settler on the J. G. Briggs farm near the head of the Honeoye Lake, and Elijah and Stiles Parker were very early comers there. Many of the first settlers along that road exchanged their farms with the Hon. Francis Granger of Canandaigua for wild lands in Hardin County, Kentucky, and removed thither in an early day. Jacob Holdren took at first what proved to be lot No. 7, mostly in the present town of Canadice, built him a cabin where the old orchard is on the bottom north of the present school house, married Jane Hunt, and made a temporary abode there, and in the spring of 1796 built a house where George Alger lives, and became the first permanent settler in that town. Jonas Belknap, a soldier of the Revolution, from Massachusetts, but who had also been a resident of the valley of Wyoming, made a temporary residence in the corner of Hopewell near Canandaigua, and then came in the spring of 1795 to this hollow and took lot No. 1, the extreme south lot in the town of Pittstown, now Richmond, and Andrew Hunt, a brother to Aaron, came and went into the cabin first erected by Holdren. Belknap’s house stood in the present town of Richmond, but he extended his claim southward into what is now the town of Springwater, and he made the first improvements, and may well be said to be the pioneer of the town. Andrew Hunt also extended his claims southward, and set out the orchard back of the school house near the old burying ground. James and John Garlinghouse the next year put up a cabin on the line a little west of the present saw mill, and became the first actual residents of the town, and here Mary Garlinghouse was born in June- 1797, and was the first white child born in town. She became in time the wife of Thomas Briggs, of whom we shall speak hereafter. James Garlinghouse married Elanor Hunt, a sister to Aaron. Through the kindness of Mrs. Cynthia A. Avery, a grand-daughter of both Jonas Belknap and James Garlinghouse, of Graudville, Ohio, we have had access to the family records of Jonas Belknap, and learn that Esther Belknap was born just across the line April 1, 1797. Orin Belknap, May 29, 1799, Cynthia Belknap, July 13, 1801, and just over the line in Canadice, Samuel Holdren in 1739. Those were the earliest births in this hollow. John Garlinghouse and his Nephew, Benjamin, afterwards settled in what is now called the “Garlinghouse Settlement.” John afterwards went to Richmond, died there and Moses Briggs, the father of Caleb, Thomas, Barzlllai and John, married his widow. Belknap sold out his interests on the Richmond side of the line to Aaron Hunt, and in 1806 built a house in Springwater a few rods from the line, where the apple trees are west of the present road. Here his wife, whose maiden name was Esther Parker, died June 10, 1809, and was no doubt the first white person who died in town. She was buried in Richmond, north of the old orchard on the bottom set out by Jacob Holdren and Jennie Hunt in 1795, by the side of George Holdren who was burned to death in 1801. This was without a doubt the first death in this hollow. Jonas Belknap sold out in 1813 to John Kelly, went to Kentucky, died and was buried on the bank of Green River, Feb. 16, 1824. He was a man of fair qualifications, a commissioner of schools in Pittstown in 1796, a constable and collector there, also overseer of highways and fence viewer in Middletown In 1808. His children were Samuel, Elijah, Elisha, Jonas Jr., Jesse, Susannah, Esther, Orin and Cynthia. Samuel married Sarah, the youngest daughter of Aaron Hunt, and died in Hopewell in 1810. His widow married Artemus Lincoln, after whom Dr. A. L. Hunt of Springwater was named. Lincoln was his uncle by marriage. Elijah died in Indiana, Elisha, Susanna, Esther, Grin and Cynthia in Ohio, and Jonas Jr., and Jesse in Oregon. Kelley came from Canada to his farm, built the house William S. Washburn now lives in; kept tavern there, and was undermined in 1821 or ‘2 by John Otto. Otto traded farms with Isaac Maltby for lands in Naples, and Hiram, a son of Isaac, kept tavern there in 1839, and remained there one year longer, when Maltby exchanged it with Thomas Briggs for land In Richmond. Briggs lived there until a severe accident befell him, leased the land to George Chapman for two years, and removed to Richmond where he died. Chapman stayed there till the expiration of his lease in 1851, when Barzillai T. Briggs, son of Thomas, bought out the heirs, obtained a deed from the land office, and sold two years afterwards to Frank Culver, and he not meeting the conditions of the contract with Briggs, his father George W. Culver took it off his hands and sold in 1854 to John B. Moore. Moore lived there until 1872 and sold to Cheney and George Abbey 45 acres of the west end of the farm, and they to William S. Washburn, and he to Samuel G. Wilber the present possessor. Moore sold the east 58 acres to the present owner, William S. Washburn, who is the owner of some three hundred acres of land in one body and lying in the five towns of Naples, South Bristol, Canadice, Richmond and Springwater. Kelly’s wife died there in 1821, and he and his children went to Troupsburg. His children were just an even dozen, John, James, William, Joseph, Jedediah, Ner, Richard, Abram, Catherine, Martha, Sarah and Harriet. Otto died in Naples in 1857 aged 88 years. He came from New Jersey to Canandaigua and to this place; had twenty-one children and brought up two grand children. Hiram Maltby was son-in-law to Otto; went south for his health, and when returning died on shipboard off the coast of South Carolina and was buried in the sea, March 18th, 1848. Moore was born In 1816 in Naples; his mother died in 1821, and he was brought up by Hamilton on the east shore of the Honeoye, and is now living at Blood’s Corners, and his children are Lillie living at home in single blessedness, and Albert J. is a train dispatcher at Avon. Barzillai T. Briggs is living in Livonia. Horace Gaylord Washburn grandfather to the present owner of the most of this farm came from Worcester, Otsego county to this hollow in 1798.

The tract of land next south containing some three hundred acres was first claimed as a home by Samuel Chapin in 1799. He built his first house west from the present road where the old orchard is, and a little north of the old mill site. Elisha Coxe soon afterwards erected a cabin on the west side of the hollow. Andrew Hunt and Samuel Chapin built a gristmill there, probably about 1812 or ‘13, and a man by the name of Narrowcorn lived in a log house just south of Chapin and tended it. Isaac Maltby came from Vershire, Orange county Vermont in 1814, and bought out Samuel Parker and James Wright in Naples, just across the line of towns as the line runs now. Andrew Hunt sold out all his worldly interests to Chapin about the same time, and Hunt, Parker and Wright went to Kentucky. Chapin lived there quite a number of years and then built the house, now across the line, where Rachel Maltby now lives, and sold in 1823 to Isaac Maltby. The Maltby farm in Springwater once included all the lands now owned by Byron and William Maltby, John Polmateer, Elisha G. Washburn and George Muck, besides the farm first written about. Ira Maltby, son of Isaac, was the next occupant, and he dying in 1848, his heirs sold to Thomas Warner. Warner owned it some three years. Charles Maltby, another son of Isaac, came next and his widow Rachel, and sons Byron and William own one hundred and thirty-six acres of the original farm. After Chapin built the house now occupied by Rachel Maltby, and moved thereto, Samuel Emmons lived in the house he moved from, and Stephen McFarlin also lived there. While Isaac Maltby owned the farm he built a saw mill not far from the gristmill. These old mill sites are on the premises now owned by John Polmateer. When Chapin sold out, he went to Michigan. His children were Jacob, Anson, Jay and Hannah. Anson lived in the house his father built last, a year or two after they sold out, We are well satisfied that one or more “little strangers” were added to the family of Samuel Chapin while living here, but in the absence of positive proof on that point, we have placed Willard Knowles on record as the second white person born in town. Issac Maltby never lived in the present town of Springwater, but died where he first settled in Naples, April, 1858. Emmons died on the two acres of land his widow now resides on. His children were Serena, Richmond, Lovina, Zerucia, Youngza and Seymour. When Andrew Hunt was a resident of these parts, he was a noted hunter, and many a deer has been brought down by his unerring aim. Before the morning dawned he often visited a deer lick in the immediate vicinity of his home, and his red skinned neighbors also put in an appearance at the same place for the same purpose. On one occasion as he was watching the approach of deer, he spied something crawling through the brush towards the lick, and feeling satisfied it was a deer, he took aim and fired. On examination he found he had not killed a deer but an Indian, an old neighbor with whom he was well acquainted. At first thought, he hardly knew what to do, and not feeling safe to reveal the accidental facts, be took his victim to the little swale west of the present schoolhouse and after depositing him in the mud, threw a few chunks over him, and soon afterwards went to Kentucky, but did not dare to lisp the matter aloud, until on a visit to his old home a long number of years afterwards.

The highway in that hollow in the town of Springwater, was first located near the creek, and passed by where the gristmill stood, and was laid out Dec. 19th, 1790, by John Hooker, surveyor. In June 1808, it was changed to where it now is, and Ephraim Cleveland was the surveyor. As we said in the beginning, the unpleasant part of our task becomes apparent, when we say that only one of the proprietors of the main portion of the lands written about, at present resides in the town of Springwater, and that is William S. Washburn, although all of them and many others in this hollow are within the bounds of the original township lines. Mrs. Emmons, the widow of Samuel, has a lot of two acres, and the town and county lines take but a small portion of her house into the town of Naples. Rachel, Byron and William Maltby live in separate houses in Naples, and cross the line of towns to reach the highway. Their horse barn and nearly all their possessions are in Springwater, and nearly the same may be said of John Polmateer. For convenience this corner of Springwater should be added to Naples.

The first schoolhouse in this hollow stood in the town of Canadice on the corner of the cross road that leads by the present one, and the remains of the old stone chimney can now be plainly seen. The first school taught here was in 1806, and the names of the teachers of 1806 and ‘7 we are unable to learn, but Judith Hawes, the mother of the late Seymour H. Sutton, of Naples, taught in the summer of 1808, and Jacob Holdren was one of the trustees. She rode upon horseback to and from school, and taught for seven shillings per week, and six miles of that distance had but a single house. Erastus Barber in his youth was a teacher in this district.

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