Thursday, December 31, 2009


As we get ready to toot and toast our way into 2010 you should be aware
that when a comment is made directly to the blog web site for posting
your contact information is not included.

You can either include your e-mail address within the comment or forward it directly to me at . That way I'll know how to contact you directly.

Until 2010,


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Monday, December 14, 2009

Wayne County Historical Society Map Club - December Meeting

The next meeting of the Map Club will be Wed. Nov. 16th at 7pm.

The club will be looking at atlases of Wayne County and an index of maps of the Genesee Valley.
At the last meeting members viewed many different kinds of maps from the Museum's collection.

Anyone interested in any aspect of maps is invited to come.
If you have any maps or atlases for a show-and-tell session feel free to bring them along.

For more information about this event, call the Museum of Wayne County History
at 315-946-4943 or look at the website,
The Museum is located at 21 Butternut Street, Lyons NY.

Also it will be just about your last chance to see:

"Intriguing Architecture"
High School Photo Exhibit

This exhibit was conceptualized to go hand in hand with the summer/fall exhibit,
"Legends and Haunts of Wayne County".
Three schools participated, Clyde-Savannah, Lyons and North Rose Wolcott", said
executive director, Larry Ann Evans, "and the photographs are out of this world!"

Friday, December 11, 2009

CENTRAL / WESTERN New York timeline / 1789


The future Livingston County town of Hartford (now Avon), is formed.

Jan 27
Canandaigua becomes the seat of Ontario County, newly formed from Montgomery County, and comprising the entire Phelps and Gorham Purchase; the town of Canadice is founded (Whitestown will continue to hold elections in Montgomery County for another two years). The Cayuga County towns of Aurelius and Milton (later Genoa) are founded. The Ontario County town of Bloomfield (later East Bloomfield) is formed, as settlement begins.

Jan 29
Politician and judge William B. Rochester is born to Nathaniel and Sophia Rochester, in Hagerstown, Maryland.

Feb 25
The Cayuga Indians sign a treaty with New York, selling close to 3,000,000 acres of their land, receiving $500, with the same amount to be paid annually, and a further payment in June.

Feb 28
The Tioga (later Chemung) County town of Chemung is formed.

Mar 4
The First Constitutional Congress meets in New York City, without a quorum. The U. S. Constitution is declared to be in effect. A public celebration is held.

Apr 23
Washington arrives in New York.

Apr 30
Washington is sworn in as the first President of the United States, on the front steps of Federal Hall.

Moses DeWitt and Abraham Hardebegh lead a party of surveyors from the Hudson Valley to the western shore of the Oswego River, begin surveying the New Military Tract, over 1,500,000 acres of former Iroquois land.

Speculator Oliver Phelps first visits his lands on the Genesee River. ** New York pays the Cayuga an additional $1,625. ** Nathaniel Gorham notifies the Council of Massachusetts that he and Phelps will be unable to pay the first bond before the second one comes due; offers to relinquish the bargain if they are compensated for expenses. The legislature will postpone payment of the first bond until next April.

Jul 4
Oliver Phelps convenes a council of Seneca chiefs at Buffalo Creek to inform them their lands were been surrendered in the peace treaty of 1783 and they retain their lands only on the sufferance of the U. S.

Jul 8
Phelps begins the final conference with the Seneca. It goes on past midnight.

Jul 9
The chiefs decide the payments promised by the Genesee Company are fair and since a portion of the lease is now surrendered, Phelps should pay part of the total sums promised by the lessees. The task of writing down the terms of the agreement are delegated to three white interpreters. The chiefs sign later in the day.

Oliver Phelps returns to Canandaigua to make the second and final payment to the Seneca. He brings $5,000 instead of the $10,000 promised. (The discrepancy is probably due to greatly differing exchange rates for the pound in New York and Canada). The only sign-off Phelps can get is from four chiefs not directly involved with the sale lands. The tribe will eventually sign away the lands but will remain embittered. ** Captain Simon Stone and Lieutenant Israel Stone, cousins and Revolutionary War veterans from Salem, New York, purchase a Phelps and Gorham tract at Big Spring (the future site of Northfield, later Pittsford) containing 13,296 acres, for $4,786.56. They make a $30 down payment. They go back to Salem for the winter after building themselves log homes.

Aug 22
Phelps writes to Samuel Street indicating that Phelps and Gorham will permit Allan to continue milling even though he did not complete his construction by the June 1st deadline.

An Indian delegation from the Western Confederacy travels from Ohio to Buffalo Creek, where Joseph Brant advises them to go ahead and negotiate a settlement with the Americans.

Ebenezer "Indian" Allan, sells his Scottsville farm for $2.50 an acre, moves to a site at the Genesee River falls, a location that will become the city of Rochester.

Nov 12
The approximate date Ebenezer Allen, using a crew of fifteen whites recruited from the Genesee Valley and a schooner's crew, erects a grist mill on the Genesee's upper falls, on behalf of Oliver Phelps. He also erects a sawmill.

Peter Sheffer and his two sons settle near the future site of Scottsville.

Oliver Phelps and Nathaniel Gorham take possession of the land purchased from the Seneca. Phelps opens the first U. S. land office, in Canandaigua. Sales begin. Land agent William Walker and General Israel Chapin begin surveying the area. Arthur Erwin buys land that will become the sites of Erwin and Corning. Blacksmith Samuel Miller buys land later known as Millers Corners, then Ionia, arrives in Canandaigua with his wife Zelpha Hayes to stay for the winter while his 11- and 13-year-old sons Salmon and Samuel begin clearing the property. ** Corning is founded. ** Nathaniel Loomis comes to Salt Point on Lake Onondaga, in the fall, and begins producing salt, turning out between 500 and 600 bushels over the next winter, which he sells for a dollar a bushel. ** Elnathan Gooding’s brother rejoins him at Bristol in the spring, following a visit back to New England. ** The Seneca learn that the New York pound is worth only half of the Canadian pound. They refuse to sign an endorsement of last year’s sale of their land as a protest, but accept the final payment. ** Connecticut-born surveyor Judah Colt comes down with Genesee Fever. ** George Washington hires surveyor Andrew Ellicott to help fix the southwestern boundary of the state, to settle ownership of the city of Erie. Andrew is helped by his brothers Joseph and Benjamin. ** The state puts aside 50,000 acres of land to be allotted to those opening new roads. ** Gilbert R. Berry opens an inn at Hartford (now Avon) on the trail between the Genesee Valley and Fort Niagara. ** The Markham-White party renews its journey from the Susquehanna in the spring. Reaching the head of Seneca Lake, one of the men herds the animals to the northern end while the others raft their belongings up to Geneva. Then they all continue on to Canandaigua. Phoebe Markham and her baby boy remain there as a housekeeper for Oliver Phelps while the rest of the party continues on to the Genesee River. ** Ebenezer Curtis, Amos Hall, Nathan Marvin and Robert Taft settle West Bloomfield. ** Benjamin Patterson scouts for surveyors Saxton and Porter. He also takes the first raft of lumber out of Bradford, down the Conhocton, Chemung and Susquehanna rivers. ** Richard Smith begins construction of a grist mill on the Keuka Lake outlet. ** The state legislature passes an act for the use of certain public lands for religious and educational purposes. ** Jacob Yaple, Isaac Dumond and Peter Hinepaw settle the area that will become Ithaca. ** The first European settlers arrive in Palmyra from Connecticut, brought in by General John Swift. ** Volume I of Thomas Anburey's Travels through the Interior Parts of America is published in London. One of the maps shows just unlabeled land west of 'Oneyda Lake'. ** Lawrence Van Cleef, a soldier with the Sullivan Campaign, becomes an early permanent settler at the future Seneca Falls site, erects a mill. ** Twelve members of the John Featherly, Nicholas Stansell, and William Stansell families are to first to settle in Wayne County, making their homes south of present-day Lyons. ** Township size in the "Old" Military Tract is decreased from 10 to 9.7 square miles and from 640 to 600 acres in the "New" Military Tract. ** Horatio and John H. Jones settle at Big Tree (Geneseo). ** Settlers begin arriving at the head of Cayuga Lake. ** Pioneer John Lusk of Berkshire, Massachusetts, and his party, after traveling by Mohawk River, Oneida Carry, Oswego River and Lake Ontario, cut a road from Irondequoit Bay to Canandaigua. His 15-year-old son Stephen and a hired hand come overland with the cattle and supplies and goods for home and business. ** Land speculator Oliver Phelps is elected First Judge of Ontario county. ** John Harris moves from Harris Ferry (Harrisburg), Pennsylvania, to Aurelius.

Seneca County
Andrew Dunlap arrives in the future county by way of the Chemung River, settles Ovid. ** Rhode Islander John Greene settles Waterloo.

Yates County
The Town of Augusta (later Middlesex) is formed. ** Quakers harvest their first winter wheat planted near the future site of the village of West Dresden. ** Religious leader Jemima Wilkinson founds a colony on Keuka Lake in what will be the town of Jerusalem. The first harvest of local wheat is processed at a new mill site.

Yale graduate James Wadsworth visits his cousin, land speculator Jeremiah Wadsworth, makes a good impression.

© 2009 David Minor / Eagles Byte

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Request for Information

Received the following request from a CLRblog viewer -

I read in your article about Roseland Park by Richard Palmer that there is a video of the last day of Roseland Park’s (Canandaigua) operations. I tried to find a telephone listing for WEX Studio at 58 Wex Avenue or Timothy Wagner but without success. Can you help?

I can find nothing online; it looks like the WEX Studio no longer exists. Mr. Palmer didn't have any further information. If anyone reading this knows where a copy of the video might be found or viewed you can e-mail me at
and I'll get in touch with the person who queried us.


Wednesday, December 9, 2009


December 16, 2009

The Genesee Valley Civil War Roundtable presents
Brandon Garney speaking on
The Excavation of the Hunley

at the American Legion, through the front entrance
53 West Main Street, LeRoy at 7:30 PM

Discussion period to follow.
New members and interested parties welcome.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Passengers on Canal Freight Boats - 1823

Collected by Richard Palmer

Lyons Advertiser
April 13, 1823

The navigation of the canal has re-commenced with activity and
spirit, and the superabundant produce of the country is passing
rapidly to market. As the packets have not yet began their regular
trips, the freight boats are many of them crowded with passengers,
who have been waiting the commencement of navigation to avail
themselves of this safe cheap and not unpleasant mode of traveling.

Packet Boats

As our whole canal system is still in its infancy, it is not surprising
that various and conflicting opinions should prevail upon every
subject in any way connected with it, in the form of experiment;
and under such circumstances, no method can tend more to elicit
information, than open and free discussion.That the packet boats
are pernicious to the canal, in some degree, we believe had never
been denied; but whether the damage they cause to the banks,
bear any proportion to the high duties levied upon them in the
new tariff, seems at least problematical. If the object is to drive
passengers entirely from the canals, the price of carrying them
in freight boats would require to be much increased; and if only
the safety of the canal, and the public revenue are regarded,
we cannot but suppose the new regulations injudicious. The novelty
of the work draws strangers from distant parts to view its splendor;
and a passenger upon the "Grand Erie Canal," is often purchased
at the expense of a long circuitous digression from the right line
of the traveler’s journey. These circumstances should have their
weight, and exercise their proper influence. If the packet boats
are driven from the canals, the state revenue must sustain a serious
injury by diminution , without, so far as we can discover, our obtaining
any equivalent for the loss. We hope ere long to see such an alteration
in the relative charges on packet and freight boats, as shall be
judicious in itself, and enable the respective proprietors of each
to compete upon fair and reasonable terms. This will give satisfaction
to all parties, and enable every man to pass on the canal as he shall
please, either in a packet, simply as a man; or; in a freight boat stowed
with boxes and barrels, to be talked of by the ton, and known only by
the "mark and number, as per margin"

Buffalo Journal.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Troubling Bridge Over Waters

© 2007 David Minor / Eagles Byte

John Fowler’s tour of New York’s Auburn Prison having ended very early in the morning he was back to the American Hotel shortly after seven AM, in time for breakfast. Immediately afterwards he was off on foot for a look at the rest of this village on Owasco Creek, with its approximately 4,000 inhabitants (probably excluding the inmates of the penitentiary).

He remarks on the one principal street, running east and west, containing businesses and residences, a courthouse and another hotel, the Western Exchange. In addition to a number of new buildings going up there are, “extensive mills and manufactories.” He also mentions the canal running about seven miles to the south and the plans to construct a waterway connecting to it. We’ll hope, if that happens, the engineers employed have a little better sense of direction – the canal lies more to the west.

His coach continues on to the village of Cayuga, which does lie to the west, on the northeastern corner of the lake bearing the same name, at a spot a few miles south of where the Cayuga & Seneca Canal, completed two years earlier, enters the lake at its northern end. And here he encounters one of the recent marvels of engineering in North America – the Cayuga Bridge.

Built back in 1800 to enhance travel across the state, and to bypass the Montezuma Swamp further to the north, the mile-long-wooden bridge had collapsed four years later, then been rebuilt in 1812 and 1813. Back in 1818 another English traveler, John Duncan, described his crossing of the 132-foot wide wooden structure. “The wheels of our chariot rolled along the level platform, with a smoothness to which we had long been strangers; and so luxuriant seemed the contrast, that on getting to the farther end, some of the passengers proposed that we should turn the horses and enjoy it a second time!"

The span’s greatest enemy was the weight of the ice forming on its span during the upstate winters. By the time Mr. Fowler crossed over, the experience was not quite as salubrious as that enjoyed by Duncan.

“. . . a most barbarous structure, built upon piles, and conveying the idea, if not the reality, of great insecurity; as the planks, or logs, upon which you pass, uncovered with gravel, soil, or other material, are of all shapes and sizes, heedlessly laid across from side to side, without rails or any kind of fastening whatever. In many instances I observed them scarcely resting upon the supports on each side, and the waters of the lake every where visible below: of course, as they were acted upon by the weight and motion of the coach and horses, they were perpetually jolting up and down, so that it was a matter of astonishment to me how the animals could pass over at the rate they did, a good brisk trot, without getting their feet between them; the accompanying noise and clatter, too, was anything but agreeable. An English traveller, however, must leave all his fears and prejudices at home, and be here content to dash on, over, under, or through whatever it may please the driver and his steeds to convey him."

Guess it’s all in your timing.