Thursday, October 28, 2010


© 2010

David Minor / Eagles Byte

Monday, October 25, 2010


The Holland Land Company opens for business at Asa Ransom's house in Clarence, selling land at approximately $2 an acre.
Jan 17
Catherine Le Roy dies in New York City at the age of 62.
Land speculator James Wadsworth gets into a dispute with Schenectady merchant Oliver Kane, wounds him in a duel. ** Wadsworth is given foreign membership in Russia's Imperial Moscow Society of Agricultural Husbandry, under the aegis of Czar Alexander II.
Settler Abel Rowe builds a cabin in Batavia. Joseph Ellicott moves his Holland Land Company office into Rowe's cabin. ** Wadsworth and Kane duel again. Wadsworth is wounded.
Mar 5
The state legislature passes a resolution to revise and amend the 1795 "act for the encouragement of schools", to permit $50,000 for the further expansion of schools over the next five years.
Chauncey Rust of La Fayette moves to Onondaga County, where he and his family pioneer Maple Grove, in the Town of Otisco. ** Joseph Ellicott begins clearing trees for the new land office at Batavia.
Apr 7
Ontario County is divided into 19 towns, including Northampton.
May 11
Pennsylvania land speculator (Binghamton) William Bingham's wife Anne Willing Bingham dies in Bermuda at the age of 36.
James Wadsworth's brother William drives a herd of cattle from Geneseo to Baltimore, Maryland, returns five weeks later with oxen.
Jun 4
A daughter, Ann Matilda, is born to future New York pioneer David Piffard and his wife Sarah, in London.
Jun 22
The U. S. Army announces plans to build a road from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario.
Jun 23
Williamson and Pulteney officially wind up their affairs.
Former Army captain Philip Church begins a survey of New York State's Morris Reserve (today's Allegany County), takes Moses Van Campen as a guide. Later in the year he will return to the Genesee Valley and begin surveying the future Angelica.
Jul 20
The Skaneateles’ Religious Society (later the First Presbyterian Church) is founded by the Reverend Aaron Bascom of the New Hampshire Missionary Association It’s the oldest congregation in the village.
A republican political coup in the state turns out many Federalist office holders.
Oct 13
The New York State Constitution Revision Committee meets, elects Aaron Burr as its president.
Oct 21
Charles Williamson's holdings are conveyed by deed to his principals, England's Pulteney Associates.
Nov 7
Joseph Ellicott gives the settlement of Batavia its name, honoring his employers' country.

The western section's first school opens at Ganson's (Le Roy). A log cabin is built at Buttermilk Falls nearby. ** Samuel Lincoln becomes the first settler in the future Bergen. ** Former U. S. Board of War secretary and Board of the Congressional Treasury member Robert Troup succeeds Charles Williamson, dismissed for extravagance as Pulteney land agent in western New York. Williamson quits rather than be demoted from chief agent. ** A Federal-style home is built at 562 South Main Street in Geneva. ** Dunham's Grove (the future Oakfield) is founded. ** The state repeals an act that had required the superintendent of the Onondaga salt works to keep a minimum supply on hand. A one cent duty is also repealed. ** Amos Sottle returns to the future Chautauqua County where he had settled in 1797, bringing a Mr. Sidney and a Captain Rosecrantz with him. ** The state highway commissioners levy a tax on the town of Bath for road maintenance. ** Augustus Griswold builds an ashery at Indian Landing, on Irondequoit Bay, the first one in the area of the future Rochester. ** Charles Williamson's Springfield Farm residence at Bath is completed. ** John Davison, future maternal grandfather of John D. Rockefeller, acquires 150 acres in Cayuga County. ** Governor John Jay retires. ** Abram Paddock settles on the east bank of the Oswego River, at the future village of Phoenix. ** A grist mill is built in Penn Yan. ** Skaneateles has approximately 100 houses. ** The state legislature begins regulating taverns and inns and levying duties on strong liquor sold in them. ** Herman Le Roy, William Bayard, Matthew Clarkson and John McEvers open the newly-surveyed Triangle Tract to settlement. ** Colonel W. Fitzhugh, Major Charles Carroll, and Nathaniel Rochester visit the Genesee Valley again. ** Jared and Ellen (Ginnie) Munson Barker move to Northfield (later Pittsford) from Oneida County with their children David, Asahel, Alanson and Betsy. Jared buys a grist mill, saw mill and house from early settler Simon Stone. ** Penfield brewer and shoemaker Stephen Lusk, widowed in 1799, marries Sarah Hincher (Henshaw). ** Early settlers Samuel Spafford, Enos Blossom and David Bush are appointed school commissioners for the town of Smallwood (which later formed parts of Brighton and Pittsford).
Holland Land Office field agent Joseph Ellicott builds a two-story log cabin office. He has a dam and a sawmill built on the site - a bend in Tonawanda Creek. ** Abel Rowe purchases the first lot, erects a tavern across from the land office. ** School teacher Thomas Layton settles here.
A trading center opens at the mouth of the Genesee River; it is named Charlotte. ** Early settler Enos Blossom is appointed as a School Commissioner.
Steuben County
Overseers of the poor request levies on the towns for relief. Painted Post is charged the most - $1800. ** The board of supervisors conducts its first audit. ** The county is placed in the Seventh judicial district.
The London Stock Exchange is built. Future New York pioneer David Piffard becomes a member. His wife Sarah's failing health necessitate a move to Paris later in the year.
(c) 2010 David Minor / Eagles Byte

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The changing landscape of the Town of Gorham 1800 to 2009

by George Henry, Historian

The great Swamp white oak, the White oak, Chestnut, Elm, Ash, Hickory and a variety of other trees were what greeted the first of the settlers in the town of Gorham. Armed with only an ax the clearing of land for crops must have seemed a daunting task. But it was also an opportunity, there was material for building their cabins and a source of ready income. The demand for potash was such that much needed cash income was derived from selling the ashes of these giant trees. The clearing of the primeval forest was mostly complete by 1840.

The pioneers also found abundant wild life. Deer, Bears, wolves, Wild cat and the occasional Cougar. The Deer provided ready food and the Wolf provided a great threat. Wool was a necessity of pioneer life for clothing. The wolf made raising sheep almost impossible..The great Wolf hunt of 1811 eliminated this predator from the area. The Deer were gone by 1830, the result of hunting and changing habitat, and not seen again until 1920.

By 1825 New York became a major producer of Wheat. During the first ten days of operation The Erie canal shipped 3500 tons of flour to markets in the east. Rochester became known as the Flour City. As the lands in the west were opened up to farming and the fertility of New York farms declined due to continued crops of wheat, the production of wheat also moved west.
During the next twenty five years the farms of Gorham began to shift to more livestock production. Dairy products in the form of Cheese and Butter became a major cash crop.

Until 1860 the farms in the town of Gorham consisted of a herd of sheep, a few cows, some chickens and enough pigs to supply the winter meat for the farm family. The crop production was hay for the livestock , barley and wheat for home use and local consumption. After the Civil war the production of cotton cloth replaced the spinning wheel. This resulted in one less task for the overworked farm wife and less need to keep sheep. The Sheep herds became larger concentrated on fewer farms.

A major change came during 1860 and 1870 with the planting of orchards, mostly Apple trees. It was said that if a farm did not have at least an acre of orchard it was hardly considered a farm, with many farms having much larger acreage. With this production, apple dry houses sprung up in every community for the production of dried apples. Along with the orchards came cooper shops and stave mills for the making of barrels. Dried apples were a major economic contributor to the prosperity of the town. Until World War One Germany was a major market for dried apples. During this same time period most of the great Gambrel and Gable roof barns of the area were built, and many of the remaining Oak and Chestnut trees fell prey to this construction.

The apple industry was dealt it's final blow with the freeze of 1933-34 when the temperature fell to thirty below zero and remained there for almost a week damaging the trees so severely that production never returned.

Tthe Rual Electrification Act of 1933, an act of Congress to bring electricty to the rual areas, brought another great change. By 1940 most farms had electric service. With electric motors one man could milk many more cows, water could be moved hundreds of feet and refrigeration could cool milk. With lights Chickens could be stimulated to produce eggs all year and the kerosene lantern was put in the closet for emergency use.

Many readers will remember the farms in the town of the 1930s and 1940s. A few cows a small flock of chickens, some pigs for home use, a team of horses and tractor or two. Most farms had a hand cranked cream separator, the cream was put in five gallon cans and picked up once a week and shipped to a plant for sour cream butter, the skim milk was fed to the pigs. After world war two, with refrigeration the milk was put in ten gallon cans, stored in a vat of cold water and shipped daily to the creamery. Later refrigerated tanks replaced the milk can.

By 1950 there were 1647 farms in Ontario County reporting cows with an average of ten cows per farm. By 1969 this had changed to 386 farms with 31 cows per farm. In 2002 this changed to 126 farms with 123 cows per farm. Now with improved technology and larger equipment the economies of size greatly impacted the family farm. Folks sold their farms to their neighbor and found work in the ever increasing industrial sector. With lower cost of production in the western states and farm production surpluses the less productive land was left to grow weeds and houses.

By 1990 much land lay fallow and the grand old Gambrel and Gable roof barns had leaky roofs and boards falling off, many to be torn down or victim to neglect and the north wind. Land rent was cheap and larger farms rented land to spread their cost over more acres.

In the late 1980s another change began. The first Mennonite family moved into the town. Soon followed by an ever increasing number until today we have about fifty families in the town. The horse and buggy and the children walking or riding their bikes to school was again a common sight on the town roads. The Mennonite community operate their own schools, of which there were three in the town, as well as one church. Their devotion to family, community and church is the strength that keeps them strong and vibrant. The remaining old barns were again fixed up and new barns began to spring up. Barn raising is almost a work of art with the Mennonites. Once the foundation is laid the community gathers and in a day a new barn is up, to house a herd of from fifty to sixty milking cows. Houses and farm steads were fixed up, gardens were planted. The town had a look of prosperity.

It is not just farming, the Mennonites also opened new retail shops, repair and construction business to add to the economics of the total community. They are indeed an industrious and hard working people.

Source reference
Americas First Rushville- Robert Moody
The Orchards of Rushville- Robert Moody
Rochester the Flour City.
USDA statistics dept.
The Change Begins: Settling the Forest of Central NY --Alan Taylor

Author's note.

It is the intent of this article to chronicle the changes in the Town. The Mennonite community is a part of that change. Anyone wishing to learn more about the Mennonite community and religion should refer to the many articles and books on this subject.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Genesee Valley Civil War Roundtable

Meeting begins at 7:30 p.m. on October 20th at the American Legion, 53 West Main St. Le Roy. A discussion period will follow. All are welcome.

Le Roy Historical Society Director Lynne Belluscio will present

"Myron Pierson's Diary",

the journal of a member of the 100th Infantry Regiment, regular U.S. volunteers.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

New York Festival Barge

230 foot traveling museum for 1976 U.S. Bicentennial

submitted by Richard Palmer



Tuesday, Oct 12th 7:00 p.m. Greece Town Hall, One Vince Tofany Blvd, 14612

Trunks & Travel.... A 19th Century Journey

(a program of the New York Council for the Humanities)

by Mary Jeanne Bialas

The audience is part of this program, which brings to life the customs, sights, and sounds of travel in late-19th-century New York State. Exploring the preparations of a wealthy Victorian industrialist and his wife as they get ready to travel, participants learn about transportation modes, rules and etiquette of the road, proper attire, and the era's social expectations. Trunks and satchels are packed and ready to go, filled with antique and vintage undergarments, outer-garments, shoes, and valuable accessories for a successful trip to anywhere in 1890. (There's no such thing as packing lightly for a wealthy Victorian.) As the trip progresses, hardships and joys become the main focus. Rather than being told that life was different back then, the audience experiences it firsthand, by unpacking the trunks and other luggage, and comparing the perceived needs and standards of the Victorian era to today's travel customs. This program includes an exhibit of post-Civil War travel outer garments and accessories for men, women, and children. Digital projection enables large-scale presentation of graphics and photos of transportation and travelers.

Ms Bialas is director of Victorian Whispers, in Oneida County, an educational program development agency.

Sponsored by Speakers in the Humanities, a program of the New York Council for the Humanities.

Reservations are not necessary.

For additional information call 585-225-7221

or visit

Saturday, October 9, 2010



- 3:00 pm - Rose O'Keefe - Historic Genesee Country

(See 10/03 post below for History Fair details)

Rose O'Keefe (Lady History Fair) grew up in the suburbs of New York City, except for four years spent with her family living outside of Paris, France.

After graduating from SUNY Potsdam during the Viet Nam years, Rose moved to Rochester, New York, and discovered the beauty of the Genesee River Valley and Finger Lakes region on camping outings with family and friends. Since then, she has become a local historian, with a special interest in the Frederick Douglass family's years in Rochester from 1847-1872.

Rose has enjoyed presenting slide shows on Rochester's South Wedge, the southeast side of the city, the Douglass family, and most recently, a broader look at the greater Genesee Valley.

Her three books are: "Historic Genesee Country" (History Press, 2010)

"Southeast Rochester" (Arcadia, 2006) and

"Rochester's South Wedge" (Arcadia, 2005).

If you attend, stop by the Canal Society of New York's table and say hello.

- David Minor

Friday, October 8, 2010


Two Days from Today

- 2:30 pm - Jerry Muhl - Cobourg Ferry

(See 10/03 post below for details)

Gerard Muhl came to Rochester from Syracuse to work for Rochester Museum and Planetarium in 1968. In 1976 he joined the Greece Schools to teach Life Science and American History. He retired in 1999 and is living in Irondequoit.

He has given talks to many groups and has written for coin and history-related magazines including Coin World; The Numismatist; and Banknote Reporter as well as in Rochester History, Rochester Business Magazine; It's Almost Time, and the New York State Historical Association Journal.

He is past president of Rochester Numismatic Association Journal, new serving as honorary life member and serving on the board. He is also a member of the New Society of the Genesee.

Thursday, October 7, 2010


Three Days from Today

- 1:30 pm - Jack Kemp - Rochester Postards

- 2:00 pm - Lea Kemp - RMSC Stone Collection

(See 10/03 post below for details)

Jack Kemp is a member of both the Lighthouse Society and the New Society of the Genesee

Lea Kemp is Librarian/Archivist at the Rochester Museum and Science Center. She has worked with the Albert R. Stone photographic collection for thirty years, bringing it from a collection of glass plate negatives to a digitized collection available on the Museum Library's catalog and on Rochester Images.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


Four Days from Today

12:30 pm - Fred Amato - Lighthouses of Lake Ontario

1:00 pm - Marie Poinan - Preserving Charlotte's History

(See 10/03 post below for History Fair details)

Fred Amato

Former Monroe County legislator and president of the Charlotte-Genesee Lighthouse Historical Society

Marie Poinan

Marie Poinan is the Director of Programming for the new Charlotte Village and Transportation Museum, opening later this year at 4431 Lake Avenue. The museum collects and preserves the history of Charlotte, maintains a genealogical database of its historic families and operates a Visitor Center/museum displaying the history of the old Village.

Until the Spring of 2010, Marie served on the Board of Directors for the Charlotte Genesee Lighthouse Historical Society and editor of their BEACON newsletter.

She also served as editor for ten years for Discover the Harbor District magazine. Her interest in local history comes from her work with Bill Davis and she helped to design the signage for the scenic overlook at the site of the old Stutson Street Bridge. A previous gift shop owner, she is currently active in the Charlotte Community Association and the Ontario Beach Park Program Committee.

In October 2009, she authored the book Fire and Flames, is a history of firefighting in the Village of Charlotte and a chronicle of the renovation of the Hose 22 firehouse. She is working on a new local history book to be released in early 2011.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


Five Days from Today

- 12:00 pm - Maureen Whalen, Charlotte - Sam Patch

(See 10/03 post below for details)

Maureen Whalen

Maureen is a graduate of Nazareth College and Case Western Reserve University School of Library Science, worked in libraries for more than 38 years, including 33 years with the Rochester Public Library. She retired as the branch manager of the Charlotte Branch Library in 2007. Her lifelong interest in history has become more localized since coming to Charlotte; she has helped prepare three recent exhibits for the Charlotte Village and Transportation Museum.

Monday, October 4, 2010


Six Days from Today

~ 11:30 am - Susan J. Gateley, Charlotte - Sea Lilies to Cement Boats

(See 10/03 post below for location details)

Susan Peterson Gateley

Susan writes and sails on Lake Ontario and has a Masters degree in fisheries science. Her first book Ariel's World dealt with the recent environmental history of Lake Ontario and was used as a supplemental text in an undergraduate course at Oswego State University. Now out of print, this well received book is still available at many Pioneer Library branches throughout the region and its success prompted several additional nonfictions works on the lake. She also writes magazine articles for various regional and national circulation publications on country life, sailing, and nature.

Peterson Gateley sails with her husband aboard their 32 foot sloop Titania on Fair Haven Bay and she enjoys gardening, beach combing and paddling her homemade kayak. Peterson Gateley also offers boat rides and sailing instruction to the public through her seasonal business Silver Waters Sailing.

Web Page

Sunday, October 3, 2010


One Week from Today

2010 / 10-10

Regional History Fair

Sunday - October 10, 2010

11 am to 4 pm

Port of Rochester Terminal Building- Waterside Room

1000 North River Street, Rochester, NY 14612


~ 11:30 am - Susan J. Gateley, Charlotte - Sea Lilies to Cement Boats

~ 12:00 pm - Maureen Whalen - Sam Patch

~ 12:30 pm - Fred Amato - Lighthouses of Lake Ontario

~ 1:00 pm - Marie Poinan - Preserving Charlotte's History

~ 1:30 pm - Jack Kemp - Rochester Postcards

~ 2:00 pm - Lea Kemp - RMSC Stone Collection

~ 2:30 pm - Jerry Muhl - Cobourg Ferry

~ 3:00 pm - Rose O'Keefe - Historic Genesee Country


American Civil War Artillery Association, Susan B. Anthony House, Josh Canfield Postcards, Charlotte Genesee Lighthouse Historical Society, Charlotte Village & Transportation Museum, City of Flowers Collection, Greece Historical Society, Herons Bend Productions, Kenneth Kelbaugh Antiques, NYS Canal Society, Rochester Museum & Science Center and Local History Division/Rochester Public Library and Andy Willoughby aka Chord Teacher


Linda Bartash, Susan J. Gateley & Rose O'Keefe,

~ FREE admission and FREE parking ~

Food is available at the terminal restaurants

Sponsored by the City of Rochester and the Ontario Beach Park Program Committee

Your hosts....The Charlotte Genesee Lighthouse Historical Society & Charlotte Village and Transportation Museum

~ Proceeds benefit the Ontario Beach Park Program Committee ~

Check back each day for author's bios / c.v.s