Thursday, June 24, 2010




Daniel Faulkner brings three loads of goods to the site of Dansville across the state by sleigh from Albany. He builds a one-story frame house in front of his plank shanty later in the year.


Williamson's militia company holds a muster in Bath wearing uniforms paid for by the Pulteney Associates.


With a loan from Charles Williamson, Lucius Carey begins publishing the Geneva Gazette and Genesee Advertiser, using the first printing press in Ontario County. He soon moves the paper to Canandaigua, along with the county seat.


Williamson pays the Town of Williamson bill for the board of indigent Betsy Prehenos, one of his many charitable contributions. ** Augustus Porter surveys Rochester's 100 Acre Tract, lays out farm and village lots.

May 22

Masonic Lodge Number 57 is established in Bath with the enthusiastic backing of Charles Williamson.

Jun 20

The state legislature having passed laws to regulate salt production and land leases for the purpose in the central part of the state, William Stevens is appointed the first Superintendent of Onondaga Salt Springs.

Jul 16

Rochester congressman Daniel Dewey Barnard is born in Sheffield, Massachusetts, to Revolutionary War veteran Timothy Barnard and Phebe Dewey Barnard.

Jul 17

Rebecca Farr, wife of Pittsford settler Jasiel Farr, dies in her late thirties. She will be the first burial in the new Pioneer Cemetery.

Jul 25

Holland Land Company representative Theophile Cazenove sends surveyor Joseph Ellicott an outline of the company's Genesee Valley lands to be surveyed, after the latter is hired as principal surveyor.


Augustus Porter begins working on the Holland Purchase survey.

Sep 2

Charles Sholl, working for land agent Charles Williamson, arrives at the Falls of the Genesee to study the feasibility of putting Ebenezer Allan's mill back in service.

Sep 4

Sholl writes to Willamson, reports that the mill can be improved so as to be profitable, for at least four years.

Sep 15

The Treaty of Big Tree is signed with the Seneca, near Geneseo, New York. They sell their lands and that of the local Tuscaroras (west of the Genesee River, except for a tract at Buffalo Creek) to Robert Morris for $100,000, and are restricted to a reservation of under 200,000 acres. Among the Seneca present are Cornplanter, Farmer's Brother, Little Billy, Little Beard and Red Jacket. Former Indian captive Horatio Jones (Handsome Boy) acts as one of the interpreters. Land around the area of the future Letchworth Park (the Gardeau Tract) is ceded to Mary Jemison, over the protests of Red Jacket.

Sep 20

A stage line begins operating between Utica and Geneva along the Genesee Road, (later Seneca Turnpike, Route 5). The first trip takes three days.

Oct 18

Ellicott writes to Cazenove, reporting that he doesn't trust his circumferator, which depends on a magnetic needle, but that he will have his brother Benjamin build a transit.

Nov 19

Ellicott writes to Cazenove, reporting on the first season of his survey.


Columbia County judge John Tryon arrives near Indian Landing on Gerundegut River (later Irondequoit Creek), then builds a large warehouse there. The resulting settlement is named Tryon Town. ** Charles Wilbur sells his Le Roy cabin to Sullivan Expedition veteran John Ganson. ** The office of State Auditor General is replaced by that of State Comptroller, but the change will not be completed until 1812. ** Charles Scholl builds a grist mill, and later a distillery, on a creek in Williamsburgh. ** Charles Williamson, Thomas Morris, Joseph Annin, John Harris, and Wilhelmus Mynderse incorporate the Cayuga Bridge Company to construct a span across the northern end of Cayuga Lake. It will be built by Swartwood & Deman of New York City. ** The first settlement in Chautauqua County is formed by Amos Sottle at the mouth of Cattaraugus Creek. It will become the village of Irving. ** Residents of Bath hold their first town meeting. Provisions are made for fence inspections, with Andrew Smith named fence walker, and for bounties on wolves and panthers. ** Steuben County joins Cayuga, Onondaga, Ontario and Tioga in the Tenth Congressional District. The first town meetings are held in the spring. ** Avon innkeeper Gilbert R. Berry dies. His widow will continue the business until 1812. ** Geneva has its own water supply, using pipes made from tamarack trees with holes bored through them. ** Williamson publishes a pamphlet of five letters extolling the benefits of living in the Genesee country and of subsidies to be provided for settlers. ** The western New York land boom peaks, sales begin declining. ** Williamson obtains legislation permitting up to $45,000 to be raised for roads, , including the Gensee Road, by lottery. He is appointed the sole road commissioner for Ontario County. ** The New York Council of Appointments promotes Williamson from captain to lieutenant commandment of a state militia battalion. ** Williamson's land sales total £228,142:4:7. and estimated conditional sales of £1,022,231:1:9. ** The Surveyor-General lays out a tract of 15,000 acres around Onondaga Lake, to be known as the Onondaga Salt Springs Reservation and used for the production of salt. ** Indian scout Benjamin Patterson, hired by Charles Williamson to operate the Painted Post Tavern, arrives from Northumberland (today's Sunbury), Pennsylvania, by way of the Susquehanna and Chemung rivers. ** The oldest headstone in the Brown Road Cemetery in Caroline, Tompkins County, goes back to this date. ** The first crop of grain in the Genesee region is harvested. ** Connecticut farmer Asa Rice settles the town of Oswego. ** Legal publisher Samuel Jones is named the state's first comptroller. ** Future U. S. secretary of war General Peter Porter build a house at 210 North Main Street in Canandaigua. ** Federalists De Witt Clinton and James Gordon of Ballston are elected to the state senate. ** Dr. Samuel Dungan arrives in Canandaigua from Philadelphia to set up practice. ** The approimate date Massachusetts native Amherst Humphrey builds a home in Lima. ** The King families settle at Genesee Landing (later Hanford Landing). ** Gazetteer author Horatio Gates Spafford visits the Niagara Falls area. ** Quaker traveler Jacob Lindley passes through the future Orchard Park area south of Buffalo. ** Settlers John Lusk and his twelve-year-old son Stephen arrive in the future Irondequoit, where they had purchased 1500 acres of land, from Vermont's western Berkshires. ** William and Ann Agate arrive in the future Northfield, later Pittsford, settle on the future Thornell Road, build a log cabin. ** Early western New York settler Glover Perrin - his name the source of the town of Perinton - has moved to Pittsford with his wife. ** Charles Wilbur arrives in the LeRoy area, builds a cabin on the Mill Tract on the east side of town. ** A road between the future Penfield, Pittsford and Mendon is developed – to become Washington Street in Penfield, Pittsford’s Main Street, and Pittsford-Mendon Center Road to the southern settlement.


Jeremiah Olmstead buys two acres of land near today's Lake Avenue, which is laid out this year between Allen's mills and Hanford Landing. The Fishes build a log cabin at Allen's mills.


Hagerstown postmaster Nathaniel Rochester resigns to become a Washington County court judge.


King Louis Philippe, an exile, leaves for the United States. With his two brothers he visits the falls of the Genesee.

(c) 2011 David Minor / Eagles Byte

Monday, June 21, 2010

Montezuma Viaduct Vigil Over Crimes in Swamp Comes to End

The Post Standard, Syracuse, N.Y., Dec. 30, 1917

New Barge Canal Construction Forces Removal of Score of Piers of Old
Erie Canal Bed - - Morass Refuge of Criminals for Years

Low Bridge, Everybody down;

Low Bridge we're coming near a town.

You can always tell your neighbor,

You can always tell your pal.

If he's ever navigated on the Erie Canal

Skippers on the boats which will ply the new barge canal must become
used in the new order of things, for there will be very few low
bridges along the route of the great inland waterway.

One of the busiest sections of the old route was the Cayuga and
Seneca canal, from Geneva, through the hills past Waterloo with its
malthouses and distilleries, and Seneca Falls, with its busy pump
works and fire engine factories.

When the new project was started the residents along the banks of the
old canal kept abreast of the times. They immediately petitioned for
the excavation of their old canal to keep pace with the new so for
the past three years sections of one entire side of the main streets
have been dismantled and condemned by the state and the owners have
not lost any money by the transaction.

When the contractors came to the old bridge over the Seneca river
just south and west of Montezuma they paused for here was a monument
to the enterprise of the pioneer canal builders.

The bridge is still considered a remarkable piece of engineering
skill. It was started in 1849 and finished in 1857 at a cost of
$200,000. Its thirty two arches rise ten feet above the high water
mark above the Seneca river, the outlet of Cayuga lake. Ice comes
down from the lake to the south in the spring in great masses, but
the sturdy old bridge has withstood the impact of the years and
remains today with not a stone out of plumb.

A desolate spot

The bridge is in the center of one of the most desolate spots in the
state. The Montezuma marsh has been the scene of many crimes as some
of the Western gold mining camps of he days of '49. Acre on acre of
marsh stretches away to the north to Lake Ontario, and from time
immemorial it has been the resort of duck hunters who very frequently
found their guns handy for other purposes beside winging birds.

Murders, robbers and other criminals infested the marsh for years.
They alone knew all the byways through the marshes. Its banks of
wooded thicket and its occasional island made a secure hiding place
from the game wardens and sheriff's posses which often were sent to
apprehend them.

Stories of girls being stolen and never found, rich men kidnaped and
held for ransom and raids on farms touching the marsh were common
property along its banks. Battles have fought between rival gangs who
made their headquarters there, and criminals who escaped from Auburn
prison have been known to have reached the marsh, to be lost as
surely as if they had gone into the dismal swamp or the Florida

Charles Higgins the veteran supervisor from Montezuma was a patrolman
on the old viaduct for years. For the past twenty years he has been a
justice of the peace of the town and had occasion to mete out
punishment to lawbreakers who lurked in the fastness of the marsh.

He was ambushed on the night of May 26, 1906 by two masked highwaymen
and while one robber flashed a light in his face the other, fired
pointblank at his head. The thieves secured between $60 and $70 from
him but overlooked a gold watch. Mr. Higgins crawled to his home and
on his recovery found he had a hole in his forehead half an inch
deep, a scar he carries to this day.

To Remove Piers

The old bridge has seen all of these things and now must make way for
the new order. Since 1857 the bridge has carried the waters of the
Erie Canal over the river.

Twenty of the piers are to be removed to make way for the new canal.
Each pier is five and a half by twelve feet at the top and twenty-
seven feet from center to center. This makes the bridge with its two
abutments, 895 feet long. The piers stand nine feet high on their
pedestals which are twelve feet high. Each pedestal stands on 120 oak
piles driven into the bed of the river a depth of from thirty to
fifty feet. A two inch planking rests on the piling and the granite
is laid on this.

The canal viaduct proper is made entirely of wood. There is a two-
inch flooring with fifty-three timbers running crossways of the
bridge. The lining is one inch boarding laid on three inch planking.
As an evidence of the durability of the wooden viaduct old settlers
in Montezuma state that very few repairs have ever been necessary.

The canal across the bridge is eight feet in depth. It was always
full and in times of flood the water flowed over the edge. The
towpath along the sides was twelve feet wide and the canal aqueduct
fifty-three feet wide.

Gates two feet by two were placed along the bottom of the viaduct
every thirty feet and were raised or lowered by hooks. This was to
regulate the surface of the canal if the water got too high and there
was danger of barges crashing against the sides.

The removal of the twenty piers will permit a clear span of over 500
feet for the new waterway. Efforts are now being made by persons
interested in preserving monument of the Empire State to have the
canal authorities leave several more piers as a testimonial to the
enterprise and engineering skill of the builders.

Submitted by Richard Palmer

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

New Society at Sonnenberg Gardens

The June meeting will be a tour of Sonnenberg Gardens (and house) in

Canandaigua on Saturday, June 19. Don Kneeland has arranged for us to

have a conducted tour at a reduced rate ($8.50). Please plan to arrive by 9:45

a.m. for the 10:00 tour (advise admission booth person that you are with the

New Society of the Genesee group). Lunch will follow at Doc's Seafood and

Steak restaurant at 726 South Main Street in Canandaigua. Please let me

know if you plan to attend: or (585) 473-0404.

Martha Johnstone

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

KKK in Western New York

LE ROY -- The Genesee Valley Civil War Roundtable meeting begins at 7:30 p.m.

June 16 at the American Legion, 53 West Main St.

Oakfield Lawyer and Genesee County legislator Ray Cianfrini will present

"Clash of Cultures -- Ku Klux Klan." A discussion period will follow.

For further information on the topic paste the following into your web browser


Discussion period will follow the program. New members are welcome.

Sunday, June 13, 2010




Groups Join Forces to Move Project Forward

BRANCHPORT, NY – The president of the Finger Lakes Museum and the Regional

Director of Finger Lakes State Parks have announced the formation of a partnership

that will work to move the proposed project forward. In April, the museum’s board

of trustees announced that Keuka Lake State Park had been selected as the

preferred site for a world class museum that is planned to showcase the cultural

and natural history of the 9,000 square mile Finger Lakes Region.

Museum president, John Adamski, said that board members and Office of Parks,

Recreation, & Historic Preservation (OPRHP) officials from Albany and the region

have already met and toured the park as the first step in developing a joint master

plan for the museum and public use of state parkland. Regional parks director, Tim

Joseph, arranged the meeting and led the tour.

A little-used 60-acre section at the north end of the park, bordering Route 54A, is

being considered as the location for the museum’s main campus. Opportunities for

interpretive exhibits in other areas of the park are also being examined. Camping

and public use of the existing beach, facilities, and boat launch will not be affected.

Adamski said, “This is a unique opportunity to develop a partnership with a state

agency in order to build an educational institution on state-owned land that can

serve as a model for similar projects in the future. I am enthused and excited.”

Joseph said, “The mission of the Office of Parks, Recreation, & Historic Preservation

includes educating the public about both nature and history. A partnership with the

proposed Finger Lakes Museum is a great fit and an exciting opportunity for both of


Andy Beers, OPRHP Executive Deputy Commissioner, stated that while the agency

will not be involved in funding the $40 million project, it will make its expertise and

services available to help museum organizers develop their plans.

The Finger Lakes Museum is a privately-held not-for-profit educational institution

that was chartered by the New York State Board of Regents in 2009. While some

federal and state funding may be available through grant programs, the bulk of the

funding is planned to come from private sources and corporations.

In other developments, museum trustee and former site selection committee

chairman, Don Naetzker, resigned from the board in May to accept a paid position

as the museum’s Project Manager. A licensed landscape architect and professional

land planner, Naetzker will coordinate planning efforts with museum organizers,

state parks, and architectural and exhibit designers. His recent master planning

projects include Frontier Field, Corn Hill Landing, and Charlotte Harbor at the Port

of Rochester.

Commercial real estate developer and president of the Finger Lakes Visitors

Association, David Wegman, was elected to the museum’s board of trustees in May.

He is also owner of Esperanza Mansion Inn and Restaurant in the hamlet of Keuka

Park and the tour boat, Esperanza Rose, which offers dinner cruises on Keuka Lake.

Wegman was instrumental in bringing the Finger Lakes Museum to Keuka Lake

State Park.

From left to right: Don Naetzker, FLM project manager; Tim Joseph, Finger Lakes

State Parks Regional Director; Mike Wasilco, DEC Region 8 wildlife biologist; Andy

Beers, OPRHP Executive Deputy Commissioner; Chris Pushkarsh, OPRHP, Tom

Alworth, OPRHP; Bill Banaszewski, FLM; John Adamski, FLM president; John

Eberhard, OPRHP; Henry Maus, FLM; Jim Zimpfer, OPRHP; Dan Davis, OPRHP;

and Tom Lyons, OPRHP.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


Thanks to the generosity of Geneva retailer Joe Fragnoli, the Finger Lakes Boating Museum now has a museum display in place in downtown Geneva.

Several artifacts along with some materials representative of the Boating Museum’s collection are now on display in the storefront windows at 430 Exchange St.

Bill Oben, president of the Boating Museum, said the southern window is set up with a display of antique fishing gear of the type used in the Finger Lakes region during the first part of the last century. Central to this display is an elegant rowboat built in 1940 by noted Dresden boat builder Seymour Smith.

Smith is believed to have built more than 30 boats between 1920 and 1940. In later years he subordinated boatbuilding to his lifelong hobby of carving duck decoys, which are highly prized by collectors today. The display also includes several vintage photos related to trout fishing during that era.

The display in the northern window illustrates this year’s Boating Museum theme of “Sailing in the Finger Lakes.” In addition to a Penn Yan “Captain Kid” sailboat marketed for children in the1930s, the display contains scale models of some of the most popular one-design sailboats competitively sailed in the Finger Lakes during the past century. These include replicas of the Star, Comet, Lightning and Snipe, all built to 1/12th scale. Full-size examples of these famous sailing craft reside in the Boating Museum’s collection, and will be on display on the Seneca Lake waterfront at the annual Boat Show July 24-25 during Geneva’s Cruisin’ Weekend.

“We are grateful to Joe for lending the use of this space,” said Oben. “We plan to use it to display other artifacts and ephemera from the Boating Museum’s collection on a rotational basis while it is available to us, or until our permanent home on the lakefront is ready.” The Boating Museum and the City of Geneva reached agreement last fall on locating the Boating Museum and Visitor Center on the Geneva waterfront where the Chamber of Commerce building now stands.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Greenvale Cemetery Tour

Tuesday June 8 at 7 p.m.

Join Civil War genealogist Vicki Profitt as she leads a tour through

Fairport's Greenvale Cemetery, located on East Church Street in the

Village of Fairport on Tuesday, June 8, 2010 at 7 p.m.

Discover a soldier who served under Colonel Robert Gould Shaw in

the famed 54th Massachusetts Volunteers, which was the subject of

the movie Glory. Meet a 16 year old drummer boy who enlisted in the

108th NY Infantry. Learn which Fairport veteran was a caretaker at

the cottage where President Ulysses S. Grant died.

These local soldiers and more will be illuminated in a one-hour walking tour of

Greenvale. We will meet at the entrance to the cemetery at 7 p.m.

Please wear comfortable shoes.

Vicki Profitt has researched the Civil War soldiers of Monroe County since 2008. Her Illuminated History blog

highlights the research process and illuminates the lives of the unsung Civil War heroes from our own community.