Friday, October 10, 2014

Civil War Roundtable - St. Albans Raid


Genesee Valley Civil War Roundtable - 7 p.m. Oct. 15 at the Le Roy United Methodist Church, 3rd door on the right, end of the long sidewalk, 10 Trigon Park, Le Roy. The doors open at 6:30 p.m. Joyce Thompson Hovey on “St. Albans Raid - Oct. 19. A discussion period will follow the program. New members are welcome. Joyce will talk on the secret and well-planned raid to rob Vermont's St. Albans Bank.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

CIVIL WAR MUSIC PROGRAM IN WALWORTH


You and your family and friends are invited to Walworth Historical Society's fall open house on Sunday, October 5, from 2:00 pm until 4:00 pm at 2257 Academy Street, Walworth.  The Golden Eagle String Band will be performing a program, called The Civil War Comes to Western New York, that will feature Civil War music and history.  This program is partially sponsored by Keymelâ's Christmas Tree Farm.  Thanks to the Walworth Lions Club who is loaning us their large tent.   The program is FREE for anyone who wishes to attend.   As usual, there will be refreshments and displays inside and outside the museum.  Donations are always appreciated.  PLEASE bring a friend and join us for the afternoon.  
 
Gene Bavis
Walworth Town Historian
Walworth Historical Society

Monday, September 29, 2014

THEODORE ROOSEVELT'S BULLY RAIL JOURNEY


A Moment in Railroad History:
Theodore Roosevelt’s Presidential Special to Chautauqua, NY in 1905

The Sayre Historical Society has published Richard Palmer’s newest railroad history focus- ing on the preparations made for President Theodore Roosevelt’s 1905 train excursion over the Lehigh Valley and Erie Railroads to Chautauqua, NY.

The book is available for $10 at the Sayre Historical Society Museum, located in the former Lehigh Valley Railroad Passenger Station in downtown Sayre, PA. Books can also be pur- chased by mail by sending $10 (tax included) plus $2.50 for postage to:
Sayre Historical Society P.O. Box 311
103 S. Lehigh Avenue Sayre, PA 18840


Mr. Palmer is the author of Rails North, a pictorial history of the Lehigh Valley Railroad, and The Handsomest Train in the World: The First Twenty-Five Years of the Black Diamond Ex- press. He has also written nearly a dozen short histories of various local railroads as well as many articles for journals and magazines.

Roosevelt drew huge crowds as his train stopped at various stations along the way. At Sayre, 10,000 people turned out for the Presidential Special.

“His hearty laugh as the train stopped and men and women were whirled in a ludicrous scram- ble to fill the space vacated by the train, his genial, pleasing bearing, his simplicity and whole- heartedness – these are the things that won him the regard of our people here in an instant,” a contemporary newspaper account said. 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

PEANUT LINE CONTENTMENT - MAY 27, 1961


Buffalo Courier Express
May 27, 1961

Widower Owes Contentment to ‘Peanut Line’
By Bill Lamale

    ON FARM - Geoge Nown lives on a two-acre farm on the banks of willow-lined Bowing Creek, near the point where it crosses Route 5, west of Batavia. He was born in the same neighborhood and has never been outside Western New York.
    Now he’s a wider, a retired railroad man, and he has a pass that would allow him much freedom of travel. But George is happy with his vegetable garden and chickens.
   And this contentment is mostly because of the “Peanut Line.”
   The Peanut Line was a stretch of track reaching from North Tonawanda to Canandaigua, and the expression also meant the little trains that rumbled and rattled along those rails, stopping at every station on the way. It was a tiny offshoot of the huge New York Central system.
    ‘Peanut’ expert George is matter-of-fact, a slow and deliberative chewer on toothpicks. Probably no one knew he “Peanut” better than he. He spent the great part of his working days on the New York Central, and much of that time on the East Peanut - that section of the road east of East Pembroke.
   He started out as a section hand, lifting rails and tamping ballast, and finally became foreman of a work train. In 20 years on that train he got all the traveling he ever wanted.
    Somehow railroad life never captivated him, even when he was a boy and the Peanut crossed his father’s farm at the back and he waved to all the engineers. He got started on the railroad just by chance.
    George trained for carpentry, but work became slow. Then one day the section boss walked cross the field and offered him a job. Thinking it would make a “good winter’s work,” George accepted.
    “You can wear anything but red,” the boss said. “Red clothing is against company rules. It might be mistaken by an engineer for a signal.”
    So George be can as a laborer on the Peanut. One of those teakettle engines jumped the track near East Pembroke, he says, but that is the most excitement he can remember. Life on the Peanut was like the schedule of trains, pretty slow.
    He worked six miles of track from East Pembroke to Batavia. The section men went to work on a handcar, pumping their way along the track, and they hung their black lunch boxes on the fence to keep out the ants.
    Theirs was a 10-hour day, blistering in mid-summer heat. The engines were always dropping live coals along the tracks, starting fires in the ties, or in the brush on the right of way, and these the section hands would tackle with brooms and shovels.
    “At noon you’d look for a spot under a tree to eat your dinner and stretch out a bit,” he says. “The happiest thing that would happen was for someone from the nearest arm would bring down a jug of something cold.”
    With they picks, they worked the cinder ballast, installed new ties and laid new rails. Cows used to escape from pastures and go wandering down the tracks, and then the section gang would have to round them up and “toggle up” the broken fence or close the gates.
    For years George was the trackwalker on Sundays. His standard equipment on such trips was a track wrench, a red flag and a pocketful of signal torpedoes. Among other things, he had to look for broken rails. He never found one.
    When trains went by, he’d look for “hot boxes,” over-heated wheel bearings . But he never saw one of those. “They didn’t go that fast on the Peanut,” he says.
    Hoboes used to sneak rides on the gondola cars, but George declares that it was “by mistake.” They simply intended getting on another line.
    “The Peanut?” they used ask when questioned. “What’s the Peanut and where does it go?”
    George used to be able to answer that. But when we asked him how the line got that name, he just shrugged his shoulders. George said he could only guess at that.

Submitted by RICHARD PALMER


Friday, July 25, 2014

Western / Central New York State timeline - 1833






1833


Jan 1

Sidney Smith begins publishing Rochester's Evening Advertiser.

He will soon turn it into a morning newspaper to distinguish it

from the afternoon rival newspaper the Daily Advertiser.

Jan 7

Rochester dentist and machine gun inventor Josephus Requa is

born in Ulster County to Charity Middagh and prominent

physician James Jacskson Requa.



Feb 23

New York State's Canal Commission authorizes a Chenango

Canal to connect the Susquehanna River at Binghamton with

the Erie Canal at Utica. John B. Jervis will be hired to supervise 

construction.


March

Connewango pioneer James Blanchard dies.


Mar 20

The Cayuga County Town of Niles is formed from Sempronius.


Apr 5

The Allegany County town of West Almond is formed from the

towns of Alfred, Almond and Angelica.


Jun 19

An announcement is posted in the Oswego Palladium for a sale

of property, primarily the Ship and Ship-House at Storrs (near

Sackets Harbor). The sale will b held at he house of P. Butterfield,

the first Monday of August, and the buyer will be required to

move both structures from the premises, on or before the first 

day of November. Other naval equipment will be auctioned.


July

The New York and Erie Railroad is organized.

Jul 4

Horatio Gates Spafford's widow Elizabeth Clarke Hewitt receives

the parent on his compressed air engine.


Aug 1

A strike of journeymen shoemakers in Geneva is settled, with

the artisans gaining wage increases.

Aug 14

Stock subscriptions of $500,000 are solicited for New York State's

Rochester & Tonawanda Railroad Company.


Sep 19

Mary Jemison, White Woman of the Genesee, dies at Buffalo

Creek Reservation, in her rely nineties.


New York State

U.S. senator William L. Marcy is elected governor    **    Warren

Huff of QuĂ©bec, Canada, settles the Allegany County village of 

Alma.    **    The Chemung Canal is completed.    **    Geneva

lawyer Charles Butler visits the Toledo and Chicago areas, makes

real estate investments there.    **    Henry Imman paints a picture

of Erasmus Corning, Jr.    **    The Reverend William Arthur

moves to Perry along with his family, including three-year-old 

Chester Alan Arthur, future U.S. resident. They live in Perry for

the next four years.    **    East Bloomfield Township is established.

**        Winslow Pratt, son of Eagle Harbor settler Nehemiah Pratt,

settle on Ridge Road.    **    The Baptist Church in Chester moves to 

Canandaigua.    **    Stephen White, president of the East Boston

Timber Company, arrive at Tonawanda Island to select a homesite.


Auburn NY

A stone jail is erected in the rear of the courthouse.    **    A state

investigative team tours the women's quarters of the prison, is

appalled at conditions.


Buffalo, NY

An extension to South Pier is made and the "Chinaman" Lighthouse

is erected on it.    **    A total of 61,485 passengers pass through

the harbor, 42,956 of them board lake vessels heading west.    **    

The approximate date twenty-year-old New Hampshire

transplant Gibson T. Williams arrives from St. Albans, Vermont,

gets a job as a clerk in the Kimberly & Waters grocery storm, 

at $5 a week.


Rochester, NY

Church sextons are fined if they fail to ring church bells during fires.

    **    The Rochester Canal & Railway Company blocks a scheme

to build a rival rail line between Rochester and Charlotte, along

the west side of the Genesee Rivr.    **    The three-mile Carthage

Railroad is founded, to connect the Erie Canal aqueduct in the city

with the village of Carthage.    **    Edwin Scrantom sells the 

Monroe Republican  and enters the mercantile business with Levi 

W. Sibley, his brother-in-law.    **    The Reverend Jedediah

Burchard holds revival meetings in town.    **    The Daily

Democrat begins publication.


© 2014 David Minor / Eagles Byte

Sunday, July 13, 2014


On July 19 & 20, the Genesee Country Village & Museum at 1410 Flint Hill Road in Mumford hosts a Civil War Reenactment commemorating the battles that took place in 1864, exactly 150 years ago.  Military camps will be open, with two battles taking place each day as villagers offer concerts and depict civilian life during the war.  Call (585) 538-6822; or visit www.gcv.org.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

EXHIBIT OPENING

Forgotten No More: Monument for the Forgotten Exhibit Opening
The Museum of disABILITY History will be holding a grand opening event for its Monument for the Forgotten exhibit on Saturday, July 12, at 11 a.m. at 3826 Main Street, Buffalo. The exhibit pays homage to the individuals who died in area institutions and were buried in desolate, nameless and unmarked graves. These individuals were long forgotten as time passed, but they are forgotten no more due to cemetery restoration efforts of area volunteers and businesses.
Following the exhibit opening program, a panel discussion entitled “Institutional Cemetery Restoration – Why we Restore,” will be held.
For more information or to RSVP, contact Pam Formoso,pformoso@people-inc.org or 716.629.3626.

Friday, May 23, 2014

CENTRAL/WESTERN NEW YORK TIMELINE / 1832






1832


April

Mendon famer, shoemaker, printer and publisher John 

Portineus Greene is baptized into the Mormon Church, and 

ordained by leader Eleazer Miller shortly afterwards.   


Apr 11

In an Ithaca Chronicle story on the Niagara County election 

returns the paper uses the term "Scalawag", the first recorded 

instance of its use.


Apr 24

The State legislature approves the charter of the New York & 

Erie Railroad, specifying that the western end of the line must 

be at Lake Erie.


June

Performing Siamese Twins Chang and Eng, managed until 

now by Captain Abel and his wife, but having previously 

delayed their independence, appear in Buffalo for the first 

time as self-employed performers.


July

Cholera victims begin arriving in Rochester via the  Erie 

Canal, beginning an epidemic.


Jul 4

Chang and Eng appear in front of 650 people in Auburn.


Jul 16

Buffalo sees its first reported case of cholera, an Irish laborer, 

who dies within eight hours of his seizure.


Jul 17

Another two cases and one death are reported in Buffalo.



August

By the middle of the month another 250 cases have been 

reported, with 120 deaths.



October


Mormon John Portineus Greene, having recently organized  


branch of the church at Warsaw, in Genesee County, moves 


to Kirtland, Ohio.



Batavia


The Anti-Masons hold their first political party convention 


here. In the general the party will only carry the state of 


Vermont.



Buffalo


The city has  population of 10,119.    **    The cholera epidemic 


causes the Old St. Louis Cemetery to be abandoned and a 


new one opened.    **    Lawyer Millard Fillmore is elected to 


the U.S. Congress.    **    Ebenezer Johnson is elected mayor.



Geneva


The city takes over the Washington Street Cemetery, founded 


in 1827 by Dr. Verne Marshall.



Rochester

Monroe County jail is built.    **    Connecticut-born orphan 


(1799) Austin Church founds a factory here to manufacture 


bi-carbonate of soda, marketed as Baking Soda.



Scottsville

Pierrepont Lacey - who will appear as a young boy in Milton 


W. Hopkins' painting "Pierrepont Edward Lacey and His Dog 


Gun", is born here.



Syracuse University is founded.



New York State

Pittsford pioneer Simon Stone dies at the age of 68.    **    

Farmers in the town of Freedom note oil seeping into a pit 

being dug for seeking coal.    **    Lockport postmaster and 

Lockport Bank president Leis Eaton begins serving as a 

member of the New York Bank Commission, holds the post 

until 1838.    **    Darien is founded.    **    Deacon Samuel 

Warren begins producing sacramental wines at his winery in 

York, NY.    **    The Ithaca and Owego Railroad is competed, 

connecting Ithaca with the Susquehanna River.    **    The 

Elizabeth Cady Stanton home is built in Seneca Falls.


© 2014  David Minor / Eagles Byte


Monday, May 19, 2014

CIVIL WAR ROUNDTABLE


The Genesee Valley Civil War Roundtable presents

James McGrath on the “Identification Discs of Union 

Soldiers in the Civil War” at 7:30 p.m. May 21 at the

Le Roy United Methodist Church, 3rd door on the right 

end of long sidewalk, 10 Trigon Park, Le Roy.


Jim will be discussing the precursor of the dog tag.

A discussion period will follow. New members are welcome.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

ALMOST LOST "KINGDOM"


Shortsville (N.Y.) Enterprise
November 27, 1924

"The Kingdom," Once Thriving Little Known
                               ____
Small Community's Heyday Century Ago Was
      As Picturesque as its Name, But Now Its
        Famous Distiller Has Vanished, Its Many
          Characters Are Memories, and 
              Only Hamlet Remains
                             _______
    Midway between Waterloo and Seneca Falls on the state highway between Buffalo and Albany is a community known as "the Kingdom," which has a history not only decidedly interesting, but practically unknown even to some of the best historians of the Finger Lakes region. It was the original home of Sheriff Louis Blaisdell who, some claim, held sway over the territory a century ago in a manner not unlike the monarchies of Europe. The late Harrison Chamberlain, of Seneca Falls, and Attorney M.B. Hawley,  a present-day historian of Geneva, has furnished much of the information concerning "the Kingdom."
    It is said that nature never repeats its "master work."When Waterloo and Seneca Falls were thriving little communities, "the Kingdom,"  which even today carries the name, officially was hardly known, yet was destined to acquire more than a local fame. As the years rolled on, the beauty of the place, in river, field and woodland, attracted people to it. Newcomers felled the forest, erected homes, tilled the soil and built up trade and manufacturing business interests.
    In his happy, youthful boom the place made wonderful strides ahead, soon outstripping its neighbors to the East and West, and if the fates had continued kind and propitious it would have left Schauyes and Mynderse Mills, as Waterloo and Seneca Falls were then known, far in the the rear. But its name! How strange and euphonious! Thousands have wondered at it.
    A century ago the Kingdom was busy with life. Passengers were coming and going by stage-coach, people clustered about the tavern  and little red schoolhouse, the grocery store, blacksmith shop and a dozen little houses. A little to the west of this activity stood the Great Western Distillery, parts of the foundation which still remain in silent testimony to the business activity of a century ago. There was a saw mill, flour mill, cooper shop, and on the south side of the river a considerable settlement surrounding the locks, which existed there.
    When one wonders what peculiar, saintly quality could have given the place its name, a name which it was known along the pike from Buffalo to Albany, one is puzzled to image what has become of that great activity that now has ceased entirely.
             Not Quite "Devil's Kingdom"
    When one delves deep into the mystery and gains information from those who know, the name does not sound so singular, after all. Between the Globe Hotel of Seneca Falls and the Eagle Hotel of Waterloo, on the site of the present Towsley block, the Kingdom, at this point where the overflowing currents met, was ever a high tide of social an convivial life. Here the best and the worst met. The tavern was the center of all. Its landlord, one Hooper;  though rough and swaggering, was eager to contribute to the comfort and pleasure of his guests. Fond of amusements, he encouraged the athletic sports, common at that day, and drew about him a number of bold venturesome spirits ready for anything. Foot races, jumping, wrestling, pitching quoits and casting weights were the sports indulged in, and often the Saturday afternoons were devoted to them, making the half-day an entertainment that drew not only the people of the community but many from other places.
    It was general admitted that in all these contests the Kingdom had able champions and if outsiders came there, as they often did, expecting to  carry away prizes, they would run up against a hard proposition. Or if it were a horse race or cock fight, the Kingdom was equally ready, for it had good racers and game cocks that could be brought out at a moment's notice. The place was indeed full of life, full of amusement, of a joy boisterous and loud at times, mingling much of evil with good, and yet undeserving of the name applied to it by those who either out of jest or malice called it the "Devil's Kingdom."
                  Three Periods of Growth
    The growth of the place fell under three periods. Now and then a trapper or adventurous explorer would row his canoe up the river, but the first travel through the section of importance was after construction of the Cayuga Lake bridge and the organization of the stage-coach line. Hence the stage-coach period came first, from 1800 to 1815, when this method of travel and means of development had no rival. Of those who came in this manner, many were so favorably impressed with the place that they settled there.
    Of those early settlers many were strong, able men; some came with reputations, while others acquired influence in local and state affairs. Lewis Birdsall settled there, and in 1809 built the brick house now standing just west of the baseball park, for years occupied by James Lawrence, and today owned by Mrs. Stephen Rogers. It was said to be the first brick house in the country. It is today a monument to pioneer enterprise and ingenuity.
    The sand and clay of which the bricks were made were taken out of a lot and the kilns or pits in which were burned may still be seen in part. The house is after the Colonial order, with a central entrance and wide hall, the upper story thrown into one room, which was used for holding court and for political purposes. In its spacious room the first Masonic lodge was formed, and for years the building was the only Masonic temple in what is now known as the Finger Lakes Region.
                                   Colonel Jacob Chamberlain
    Just west of the building lived John Knox and John Burton, well known in Seneca county history. These men held high positions in the county and state. They were able and brilliant, and of their wit with humor many excellent stories are told today. West of the tavern lived Jacob Chamberlain. He came into this section with teams of oxen, transporting over the long bridge heavy pieces of cannon, and was so pleased with the country that he took 200 acres and actively identified himself with the place.
    On the south side of the river there was a settlement, though very small and scattering. The place known today as the Sweet place was owned by Thomas and Frank Carr. Later the Carss sold to Matthew Sisson, and then removed to Seneca Falls where, Thomas Carr was for many years manager of the Carr hotel, which stood on the site of the present New Gould Hotel. West of the Carr property were the homes of S. Dimmick, John Babcock, John Perry and others. These men had taken up land immediately south of the river, and thrifty and industrious in their habits, they had already developed fine farms with large clearings for raising wheat, oats, rye and corn.
    The second period came down in 1840. During it the growth on the north side was large. Many  new residents had come in, the Lawrences, Reamers, Ilers, Fitts, Harrises, Scotts, Whitmores, Pease, Dennistons, and others, and some continued to live there down to recent years. Thomas R. Lawrence came from Long Island during this period and purchased the Birdsall house.  He was a man well cultured and informed, of stately bearing and always dressed neatly in black. He was very fond of fishing, and on pleasant days he could be seen on the river bridge with his pole and line.
                                 Period of Rapid Growth
    The pole was the envy of everyone in those days. It would come all apart. It had a silver reel and and a fine silk line, in striking contrast with the rough pole and cotton line in vogue at the time. It was not only the fine tackle that he excelled Mr. Lawrence was an expert fisherman and the skill with which he could cast a line and capture the beauties of the water was the secret of imparting to many  of those days a love for this sport that has increased in popularity in the Finger Lakes region.
    The important additions, during this period, on the north side were the building of a new mill and turning shop, a cooper shop and grist mill. This was made possible by changes in the navigation of the river. A lock had been constructed with a fall of four to five feet of water. On the berm side a strip of land had been extended up the river, thus divides the canal from the river and creating hydraulic sites and gave a stimulus to the investment of capital in manufacturing enterprises. On the south side of the river, about the locks, the effect was even more marked.
    The free navigation of the river, opening a water carriage all along eastward to tide wear, was an era in the development of this section. Boats were built for freight and passengers. The packet line, far more comfortable and expeditious than the Sherwood stage, became the popular mode of travel. At the lock Stephen Smith built a house and grocery and large barns for the accommodation of the boatmen, and his son, Rueben Smith, built a house next to him. John Babcock put up a grist mill, plaster and clover mill, and adjoining was  yard for building boats.
                             Great Western Distillery
    Deacon John Fitts, then landlord of the tavern, with a Mr. Gilbert, erected a wool-carding and cloth factory. Matthew Sisson was operating a brewery and malt house and supplying the country around with beer. The effect of these industries was immediate in attracting both people and capital. The population about the locks doubled many times. There were the Jolleys, Colwells, Allemans, Warners and many other newcomers. It was toward the close of this period in the year 1831 that Jacob B. Chamberlain moved down from Varick and settled on the Dimmick farm, just south of the bridge. He remained here twelve years, when he bought the lower Mynderse mills and moved to Seneca Falls. All these have disappeared today, and thee remains a peaceful little settlement of a dozen houses, a rich farming community, but absolutely no industries. There are no falls or locks, the entire water level being controlled from Seneca Falls as far back as Waterloo.
    The third period, from 1840, was notable for the construction of the Great Western Distillery. If one should attempt to describe its size, the ground it covered and the number of bushels of wheat, rye, oats and corn consumed daily, all would admit that even in comparison with the great establishments that were stilled by the advent of prohibition a few years ago, it would stand out in great proportion. In those days it was simply a wonder, and there was nothing like it in America. Its original promoters were Colonel Jacob Chamberlain, Pinckney, Lee and Dodge. It was erected in 1841, after the most approved plans. The large boilers were made of copper, and also the large pumps, used in supplying the fermenting vats and for conducting the spirits. The cost of such appliances, when you consider the value of the material, may be readily imagined.
    To install the plant and put it into operation, the expenditures ran so high that it was found necessary to bring into the scheme Thomas and Levi Fatzinger and Joseph Wright, of Waterloo. It was a great factor in the growth of the Kingdom. It was the crowning business enterprise, caring the place, drink the early forties, to its height of prosperity.
    Many new families had come, including the Hopkins, Conkeys and others, the descendants of whom still live throughout the section. The tavern had grown, and had become in a true sense, a hotel with first class accommodations. Its landlord, George Kuney, constructed a half-mile race course on the site of old Lawrence Park, which was unexcelled in New York state.
   It is said that the school house and church measure up a community. On this rule the Kingdom would not fare very well, unless you consider what was wanted in size was made up in quality. The building that served the double purpose was small and within a stone's throw of the tavern, used for school during the week and Sunday afternoons for sacred service. While it is says to draw a mental picture of the unimposing structure, it is not so easy to grasp an idea of what transpired inside, the method and character of school life.
    Many changes have taken place in the modes of teaching, but it is a question after all whether the old method of two parts compulsion ad one part persuasion  was ever excelled in good results. The plan of threshing ideas into obstinate and dull brains and was rather hard upon the scholar, but wonderfully successful. One who taught in this school for a term, not in intimation that the birch played a greater part than the textbook, but for the fact that Amelia Jenks, afterward Mrs. Bloomer, connected the Kingdom with one of the great progressive and social movements of the century. It was she that introduced the Bloomer mode of dress for women, not unlike the regalia of Turkish women.
    Soon by the contributions of her pen she came to be known far and wide as a strong thinker of questions of dress, social and temperance reforms. She was active in the Washingtonian Temperance movement in 1840; and later on, with Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan Be. Anthony, in securing the modifications in the law by which woman was given her own right a legal standing, and later complete enfranchisement.
    Another incident may well be remember because of its connection with the place with a religious ism that has developed into vast proportions. Just east of the tavern and adjoining the blacksmith shop there stood in the early fifties a small house, one and  one-half stories high. Older residents remember it, and recall when it was known as the house where Joseph Smith, the founder of  Mormonism, lived for awhile in the fall of 1823. Their impressions of him were not as a whole very flattering.
    Smith had been in the habit of coming over from Palmyra, making his living by pretending he could detect hidden springs of water. He was a peculiar, odd-looking man, dressed in the plainest home-spun, and rather an object of wit and pleasantry. It was not till late in the fall of 1828 that he aroused peculiar interest in himself. Then he claimed that he had a singular and mysterious mission. At the start, only to a few of his most intimate friends did he disclose the nature of it. It soon became noised about that Smith had received some spiritual revelation, and the place was wild to learn more about it.
    Under apparently a simple and innocent manner, Smith must have been a keen judge of human nature, understanding well how to excite curiosity and make converts. With confidence he told how he had a vision, how in that vision an angel, had pointed out to him a hill where golden plates were buried upon which were engraved the law of the "Latter Day Saints," how he had gone there and found these wonderful plates, becoming the possessor of the latest revelations of God. Some believed and by their influence and money gave the profit great assistance. A church was organized and the baptism of the first saints took place nearby, at Silver Creek. In June, 1830, the first Mormon conference was held in the adjoining town of Fayette.
    A century ago the Kingdom was more than a rival of Seneca Falls and Waterloo. Sheriff Birdsall believed with others that it was destined to become the center of the legal and court business of the county. But the resolutions that followed in industrial and manufacturing conditions, the destruction of the Great Western Distillery in 1848, and the introduction of travel by train added to force the Kingdom to give way to other points of trade, and the energy was transplanted elsewhere.