Friday, September 28, 2012



To help, contact the Volunteer Services Department.
Phone: 585-294-8225 or Email:

Fall Festival
featuring the Agricultural Fair

Saturday & Sunday October 6 & 7  
10 am-5 pm

New name...same fun! The Horticulture Tent, an expanded Tent of Wonders, Signora Bella, 19th-century Magic, Punch and Judy, animal and poultry judging, food, food and more food are all rolled into our annual event.

Volunteer help is needed with 19th-century games in the village and helping "Food Service Al" serving food under the vendor tent on the Great Meadow.

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  Corn Maze
Every Saturday & Sunday in October 
October 6-7, 13-14, 20-21, 27-28  
9 am - 6 pm

Our newest addition to the October Happening - a Corn Maze! Ten acres of corn provide guests with five miles of family fun in three (3) separate mazes of maize! GET LOST! in the maze of dead ends, circles and misdirection.  

This A-mazingly fun outing also has free games, food for sale, a bounce castle with slide, crafts and a ride on the Flint Hill Express through the private vistas of the museum's Oatka Creek Property.

Volunteer opportunities remain on each weekend day - helping greet visitors as they enter the maze, assisting at the food service tent and supervising the family activities.

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Trick or Treating in the Village

Saturday & Sunday October 27 & 28 
Noon-5 pm

Visitors will enjoy an autumn afternoon strolling the streets of the historic village and visiting with townsfolk in modern costumes while trick or treating at some of the historic buildings!

Volunteer help is needed to supervise crafts and activities and to assist "Food Service Al" as he serves a limited afternoon menu.

If you are interested and able to assist with any of the above events, or want to find out about other opportunies at the museum, please call me at 585-294-8225 or email me at
Thank you for your time and commitment to the mission of the museum.  You do make a difference.

Brett S. Elliott
Director of Volunteer Services
Genesee Country Village & Museum

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

September 27 Historic Pittsford Program

Thursday, September 27 at 7:30 p.m. at the United Church of Pittsford; on the corner of South Main Street and Sunset Blvd.

For our first program of the 2012-2013 year, Historic Pittsford is pleased to have former Town of Pittsford Supervisor, Collector, Author and Publisher of Local History 
Paul M. Spiegel. He will delight you with his illustrated stories of "People I Wish I Had Known"

Open to the public. 
Admission: Please bring a food donation for the Pittsford Food Cupboard.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Cut It in Half?

This essay marks a shift in the blog location of our 1829 series. Formerly part of the Eagles Byte blog, the geographical locale has entered the Finger Lakes, and Western New York, as we pass through the Syracuse area. We’ll continue James Stuart’s travels westward here in the CLR blog, approximately once a month.

Cut It in Half?

James Stuart may have found travel on the Erie Canal too tiresome to be borne last year, but now, in 1829, the canal boom continued across the eastern U. S., with projects in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Massachusetts, Ohio, Virginia, and Illinois. Canada opened its Welland Canal this year, as well. And New York was by no means done tinkering with its system. Back before the second war with Britain, in 1812, the state had commissioned engineer James Geddes to survey the route for a canal to link Seneca Lake with the Chemung River at Elmira. In 1825, with the war long settled, interest in the scheme was revived in the legislative halls at Albany. The salt fields around Onondaga Lake were being depleted; coal, the newly-developing miracle fuel from eastern Pennsylvania, might be brought up into the New York via the Susquehanna and Chemung rivers. Markets for New York produce and manufactures might open in states to the south. The legislature passed the authorization for funding in April and in November began advertising for contractor proposals.

Actually central New York didn't have to worry about running out of salt anytime soon. New technologies would allow extraction from more difficult-to-reach sources and keep the industry thriving for another 97 years. Clinton's ditch would spur a population explosion, swelling Syracuse's population to 2500, nearly equal to Salina, her neighboring village. The two would not merge until 1847. Which caused a dilemma for Samuel Forman, Oren Hutchinson and John Smith. The three men were named to a commission to select a location for the new Onondaga County courthouse, one whose jurisdiction would include consolidated courts at Ovid, Levana and Onondaga. Question was, where? The three men would do King Solomon proud. They decided to locate the home for the new court at the corner of North Salina and Ash streets, exactly between the two villages. It would remain there until 1857 when the third courthouse was constructed. That one lasted until 1906. Just up North Salina, within the Salina village boundary, Irish Catholics Thomas McCarthy and James Lynch, with some aid from friends in Albany, Utica and New York City - including some truly ecumenical assistance from local Protestants, erected St. John's Roman Catholic Church. For two years clergymen from the Diocese of New-York would visit once a month, but then the Reverend Francis O'Donoghue, was assigned as permanent pastor.

Off to the southwest in the Finger Lakes region another clergyman, the Reverend William Bostwick of St. James Episcopal Church in Hammondsport, had been traveling around, setting up new parishes there and in Bath and Penn Yan. With plenty of opportunity to ponder the rural scenery he soon realized the suitability of conditions for a new agricultural venture. He imported a few catawba grapevines from the Hudson Valley and planted them in his rectory garden, assuring his parishioners a future source of sacramental wine. Cuttings from his vines were later obtained by local merchant William Hastings; in 1847 he sent the first shipment of grapes from the area to New York City. Wine, sacramental and otherwise, would follow. The wines James Stuart is enjoying at various points throughout his journeys cannot have come from the region yet, but you were born in luckier times. So next time you follow the Wine Trail through the Finger Lakes of Central New York, raise a glass to Rector William Bostwick. Salud!

© 2012 David Minor / Eagles Byte

Thursday, September 13, 2012


Jan 1                       
Total contracted debt to date for the Erie and Champlain canals totals $9,108,269. Of the amount $1,621,274 went for auxiliary waterways, dams, and officers’ salaries.   

Jan 27                       
The Steuben County towns of Erwin and Hornby are formed from Painted Post (later Corning).

Feb 5                       
Buffalo area lawyer Millard Fillmore marries Abigail Powers.

Feb 25                       
The Wayne County Town of Port Bay (later Huron) is established.  

Feb 26                       
The Wayne County Town of Butler, named for Revolutionary War general William Butler, is established.

Mar 14                       
The U. S. agrees, after much controversy, to send two delegates to a congress of the new Latin American republics, to be held in Panama, Colombia. One of the two is New York State judge William B. Rochester.

Canandaigua hotel keeper and sheriff Nathaniel Roe Boswell is born in Union, New York.

Apr 10                       
The village of Rochesterville adopts its second charter, establishing a formal annual election and creating the posts of treasurer, tax collector, and constable. Five wards are established, each having a trustee, an assessor and two fire wardens. The power of the Board of Trustees is expanded to include the mandate, previously that of the mayor, to enforce the By-Laws,

Apr 17
The Genesee County town of Gerrysville (possibly after former U. S. vice president Elbridge Gerry, possibly after pioneer David Gary) later renamed Alabama, is formed out of parts of Pembroke, New York, and the Orleans county town of Shelby.

Apr 27                       
Rensselaer professor Amos Eaton goes to Albany to arrange for boat for his upcoming students’ field trip across New York on the Erie Canal.

May 8                       
The steam-boat Mexico arrives in Rochesterville from Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, carrying the news of the March 22nd murder in Wisconsin of a family by Indians.

May 10                       
Amos Eaton and his students arrive at Salina (north Syracuse), formed last year. Student Asa Fitch visits the salt works. They continue on to Nine Mile Creek (Otisco). A bed-making committee is chosen.

May 11                       
The travelers have breakfast at Jordan. Fitch begins feeling unwell. Dinner is eaten at Byron. The Lafayette continues on to Montezuma. Canal mile boards now begin appearing, continue all the way to Buffalo.

May 12                       
The group has breakfast at Clyde. Fitch is feeling better. They stop at Lyons for dinner. Professors Addison Hulbert and Bennet F. Root leave the party to give lectures on botany and chemistry to local audiences. The party meets canal commissioner Myron Holley. Supper is at Newark. They stop at Palmyra for the night.

May 14                       
Professor Amos Eaton’s geological expedition reaches Rochesterville. He predicts the town will fail to survive.    **    Sweden, New York, gets three feet of snow.

May 15
Eaton's group visits the Falls of the Genesee. The professor is lecturing on the rock strata when he is stricken with a fainting spell and begins hallucinating. Receiving medical attention, he recovers.

May 16
The party passes through the towns of Gates, Clarkson, and the unincorporated                    Brockport, spends the night at Holleysville (Holley). Asa Fitch reads the 12th and 13th cantos of Byron's Don Juan.

May 17
Eaton's group passes through Newport (Albion), crosses over the highway arch, and spends the night at Middleport. They hear of a two-year-old who had drowned in canal just previously. Fitch reads cantos 14 and 15 of Don Juan. Fitch describes the countryside as, fertile and productive, yielding abundant crops, to repay the labors of the husbandman."

May 18
The group passes evidence of the newly-begun fruit industry. They examine flammable gas seeping out of the ground and name the local community Gasport. As they pass through Lockport, they encounter local entrepreneurs marketing excavated stone from the canal.

May 19
Eaton's expedition arrive at Manchester, encounter 200 U. S. troops  en route from Sacketts Harbor to Green Bay, Michigan. Several are under guard for desertion and disobedience. A prisoner count reveals one missing. He's soon spotted and recaptured. The Rensselaer party presses on to view Niagara Falls. Asa Fitch, his expectations heightened, is unimpressed. He thought rocks above the falls would frame the scene better. They descend the steps to the base of the cataract and tour Goat Island.

May 20
The group walk along Lake Erie shore in the evening. Professor Eaton recapitulates the expedition in the evening.

May 21
Sunday. After services several of the party walk to an Indian village. Fitch describes log huts, "much warmer than some I have seen inhabited by white people...I had a short conversation with one of the Indians, who could speak English. Only a few could even though they lived among whites...Most, if not all, however, know the meaning of the words whiskey, tobacco, etc. Dress of some very fine."

May 22
The party walks along beach, view five-foot-high waves.

May 23
Eaton's group reaches Sturgeon Point, the western end of their journey. They encamp at 18 Mile Creek outside of Buffalo.

May 24
The group is invited to dine with General Peter Porter and wife. They cross into Canada and tour Fort Erie battlefield.

May 25
Eaton and his students cross the mouth of "Tonnewanta" (Tonawanda) Creek, spend the night at Lockport.

May 26
Eaton sets a goal for remainder of journey of 30 miles a day. The reach Gasport to find that their name for the settlement is already appearing on signboards. Moving on to Middleport they notice an abundant harvest along the way.

May 27
The expedition spends the night at Newport. Fitch describes the citizens as "About as sassy, indecent, vulgar and dirty set of inhabitants as we have yet met with."

May 28
Sunday. Arriving in Rochesterville the group attends Presbyterian services. Naturalist Constantine Rafinesque joins the party. Some of the group spend the evening at the Canal Hotel.

May 29
The party visits the Lower Falls with Professor Rafinesque. They view a perfect rainbow, note that the river is lower this time. A number of them collect wild geraniums (rare in eastern part of the state).

May 30
Eaton passes through Pittsford. Fitch leaves the group briefly to visit friends. The party collects plants in a marsh at Palmyra. George Clinton sleepwalks, wakens party in middle of the night.

May 31
Breakfast is eaten at Newark. A mosquito swarm attacks. The students build fires on board the boat to drive them off.

Simon Bolivar convenes an inter-American congress in Panama. One U. S. delegate dies en route and the other, William B. Rochester, arrives after it's ended.    **    Contracts are let and work will soon begin on the improvements to the Seneca and Cayuga lakes outlets.

June 1
Eaton's party reaches Otisco.

June 2
They reach Salina. Eaton gives public lectures on chemistry and natural history.

June 3
They reach Manlius. Fitch reports it was once named Fuddletown, from the first inhabitants, who were a drunken, carousing set of people. But the present inhabitants are different and very zealous in obliterating the former name.

A gathering of Scots clans is held in Caledonia.

Jul 4
The cornerstone is laid for the first lock of the Oswego Canal.

Aug 19                       
Joseph Ellicott, former Resident-Agent for western New York's Holland Land Office, despondent and ill, takes his own life, at Bellevue Hospital in New York City, at the age of 65.

Sep 10                       
William Morgan is arrested in Batavia to protect him from a Freemason mob accusing him of revealing Masonic secrets.

Sep 12                       
Morgan is taken from jail in Canandaigua, vanishes. It’s been said the party stopped overnight at Pittsford’s Phoenix Hotel, where Morgan has his last dinner.    

Oct 30
Harvard student James Wadsworth, of Geneseo, is reprimanded for "illegal dress".

Mid-term U. S. elections end with an anti-administration House majority.

Nov 12                       
Mason Seth Chapin dies in Buffalo at the age of 36.

Nov 20                       
Buffalo storekeeper Orlando Allen marries Marilla Adaline Pratt, sister of grocer Oliver Pratt.

Dec 21
Connecticut-born Indian agent and judge Erastus Granger dies in Buffalo at the age of 61. He will be buried in Forest Lawn Cemetery.

De Witt Clinton is returned to the governorship, defeating Democrat candidate William B. Rochester.    **    Caledonia's first post office, bank and apothecary shop is built by Major Gad Blakeslee. It will later house the public library.    **   Rensselaerian School (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute) professor Amos Eaton leads a geological expedition across the state aboard the canal boat LaFayette. He is accompanied by Governor De Witt Clinton’s son George, future state entomologist Asa Fitch and physicist Joseph Henry, among others. They  name the town of Gasport when they discover coal gas from a spring.    **    E. M. Perkins begins publishing the Le Roy News-Gazette.   **    U. S. Secret Service founder Lafayette C. Baker is born in Stafford.    **    Geneva College (Hobart and William Smith Colleges) holds its first Commencement exercises, graduating five.    **    The village of Tonawanda has 12 buildings.    **    The vote is extended to all white male citizens aged twenty-one or older.    **    Shakers begin a colony, later to be called Alasa Farms, at Sodus Bay.    **    General James Hutchinson dies. His home on the West Seneca Turnpike near Onondaga Hill, is handed down to his son Orrin.    **    The approximate date a jail is built in Batavia, at the south side of Main Streets at Oak Street.    **    The family of seventeen-year-old Philip S. Lott arrives in Lodi from Hunterdon County, New Jersey.    **    Mendon's Daniel Barnard becomes the first Representative to Congress from Monroe County.    **    James S. Wadsworth of Geneseo enters Harvard.    **    Over 50,000 acres of reservation land is purchased from the Seneca.    **    The Wayne County Town of Winchester is renamed Marion, for Revolutionary War hero Francis Marion, "The Swamp Fox".    **    Bath businessman John Magee is elected to Congress.    **    Combined revenue from the Erie and Chanplain canals totals $675,190.    **    The state authorizes a dam on the Genesee River at Mt. Morris.    **    Vermonters Mr. and Mrs. Parker Nichols settle in St. Helena, in the central Genesee Valley.    **    Canal engineer James Geddes does a survey for a Genesee valley canal but nothing comes of his efforts.    **    Pioneers make their way into the area of the future Lyndon, in Cattaraugus County, by way of the Erie Canal and the Ischia Valley.

The recently established merchant house of Lyman Rathbun and Company moves to new, larger offices.    **    The pier at Black Rock is crushed by ice.    **    Grocer Hiram Pratt marries Maria Fowler in Northampton, Massachusetts.

Ontario County settler John Towers moves here. Jared Stevens arrives from Genesee County.    **    Jotham Metcalf starts a Methodist class in his home.

Erie Canal
418 boats arrive in Buffalo harbor this year 1,100 craft lock through the canal.    **    Locks 51 and 50 in Cahoes are made double locks.

A brick home is built on the north side of Monroe Avenue for Erie Canal contractor Sylvanus Lathrop.    **    The village’s Presbyterians sell their 1816 frame house at the Milepost to the Baptists. They have Lathrop  build a stone church for them on Church Street.

Population reaches 7,669.    **    Monroe County's almshouse is built on South Avenue.    **    Edwin Scrantom, along with Whittlesley and Mumford, purchase the Monroe Republican.     **    Professor Eaton gives a lecture in Rochesterville sponsored by the city’s Chemical Class, which was formed to buy books on mechanical subjects. It will be the basis for the city’s Franklin Society.    **    Oliver Loud and Everard Peck's Western Almanack replaces the "Advice to Farmers" pages with a table of interest rates.    **    Peck begins selling The Christian Almanack, published by the American Tract Society.   **    The Rochesterville Daily Advertiser begins publication. It is the first New York daily newspaper west of Albany.    **    Daniel D. Barnard is elected as the first U. S. Representative from the new 27th Congressional District (Monroe and Livingston counties).    **    The city's first public library is founded.    **    The village's seven flour mills ship 200,000 barrels.    **    South Carolina farmer John Chattin arrives in the Brighton area.    **    Louis Selye erects a building on Brown's Race for the manufacture of fire engines.    **    The village has six churches and  nine sawmills.

The approximate date painter George Catlin paints Seneca chief Red Jacket.

The approximate date the Prusa family of German immigrants arrive in Jacksonburgh (later Jackson), from Dansville, New York. Christian Prusa Jr. starts a tannery here, one of the Territory’s first.

© 2012     David Minor / Eagles Byte

The above timeline is just a small, selected section of a series of World History timelines – from BC through last year -  I’ve been building up over the a number of years. If you have a single year you’re particularly interested in seeing, here or on the Eagles Byte site (, e-mail me at
and I’ll send you the complete (unedited) World History timeline for that particular year.


Monday, September 10, 2012

Greece Historical Society program

My Dear Brother: A Seneca Family in the Civil War Years Tuesday, Sept 11th
7:00 p.m. Greece Town Hall, One Vince Tofany Blvd. 14612
A multimedia lecture by Deborah Holler, (Program of the New York Council for the Humanities)  
The story of Civil War General Ely Parker and his remarkable family of Tonawanda Senecas and the dilemma of the American Indian soldiers, fighting to preserve the Union that would disinherit them.   Through family correspondence during the Civil War years listen to their stories of fractured loyalties, intimate yearnings and the family loyalties that gave them strength.
Deborah Holler is a mentor at Empire State College at East Syracuse, NY. Her articles have been published in regional and national magazines as well as academic journals.
Reservations are not necessary, for more information call 585-225-7221, visit or on Facebook. 
This Speakers in the Humanities event, which is free and open to the public, is made possible through the support of the New York Council for the Humanities, a State affiliate of the National Endowment for the humanities.

Monday, September 3, 2012


by Richard Palmer

Although boats on the Erie and Oswego canals were generally pulled by horses and mules there is evidence to show that steamboats were in use in the very early days of these waterways. The following article concerning the introduction of steam on the Oswego and Seneca rivers and adjacent canals appeared in the Oswego Free Press on Aug. 2, 1832) where several months since we noticed a very important improvement in the application of steam, discovered by our ingenious fellow citizen, Mr. Ogden Mallory. The engines, entirely of his own invention and conation, have been placed in a very neat and convenient boat, and fully answer every reasonable expectation.

Last week, Mr. Mallory took a trip on our canal. At Baldwinsville he was greeted with a public dinner, and a number of citizens of that village accompanied him to the outlet of the Onondaga lake, and returned with him. On his return the following testimonials were sent to Mr. M. which have been kindly furnished by a friend for publication.

This should be - but what has Oswego done? Many of her citizens have not even deigned to look at this piece of mechanism to ascertain if it is an improvement or not. This is not as it should be. If it is an important, (and we are confident that it is) Oswego will be benefitted by it, and Oswego should be the first to step forward and get into notice.

Messrs. O. & S. Mallory have gone on single-handed, unaided by their fellow citizens in completion of this boat, and its machinery - much time, labour and expense have been necessary - and now that the improvement is fully tested, Oswego ought not to be behind hand in the manifestations of her approbation. But "a prophet is not without honor save in his own country." We hope, however, that these gentlemen will ere long reap from the public a reward commensurate with their deserts.

The boat went on the canal at the rate of four miles per hour, without any injury to the banks, and in the river at the rate of six. We shall make further remarks hereafter.

Baldwinsville, July 27, 1832

CAPT. MALLORY - Sir - The undersigned beg leave to tender you their grateful acknowledgments, for the attentions of yourself and the gentlemen on board your superior boat, Water Witch, during their excursion from this place to the outlet of Onondaga Lake.

Also, that from what observation they had an opportunity to make, they think highly of your improvement in the steam engine.

Respectfully, your obedient servants,


CAPT. MALLORY - Dear Sir - I take great pleasure in sending you the foregoing (copy) letter, at the request of the gentlemen subscribers therein; and of adding my individual wishes for your health, and the complete success of the Water Witch. I have the honor to be your obedient servant,

Baldwinsville , July 27, 1832