A history of Steuben County, New York

VOLUME I

The query why another history of Steuben county?

The answer is, this is not only a history of Steuben county, but of the Painted Post country, a locality well known to the nomadic people who inhabited the central portion of North America long before the advent of the sea rovers of Europe. The country drained by the tributaries and affluents of the northwest branch of the Susquehanna river, now known as the Chemung river, originating at the summits and on the slopes of the continental vertebra from the same springs and sources other streams find exits in the tropics of the Mexican gulf, or in the Gulf of St. Lawrence under the cold and inhospitable banks of Labrador; those of the Painted Post country merge into the long reaches of Chesapeake bay, bordered by inviting fruitful shores. From the time that Jacques Cartier took possession of this region, setting aside Popish bulls, for and in the name of the King of France, down to the close of the American War for In- dependence, it was known to and traversed by bands of Indians, hunting and hostile in intent, and the black robed priest 'and the ubiquitous voyageur. Avenging armies had invaded, laid waste and destroyed the homes of its murderous inhabitants.

It was given to Massachusetts by royal charter, released to New York by Massachusetts, conveyed by the last named state to Phelps and Gorham, and then successively to Robert Morris and Sir William Pulteney and his associates. From this territory was formed the original county of Steuben, from which have been taken parts of five adjoining counties, including nearly a score of towns. Other and prior histories of this county have made only scant and brief reference to these demolitions, invasions and partitions. This is the reason why no separate town history is attempted here; under the circumstances it is impracticable.

As presented, it has been a difficult and perhaps not a successful task, because of the great extent of the field from which I have at- tempted to glean. I have voraciously perused all of the printed matters relating to or in any way illuminating the quest, and some of the choicest incidents have been found in the most out-of-the-way and unexpected places seared and yellow letters, written long ago by the participants in the events narrated; memoranda, diaries and account books, written in the dim past by hands long since returned to the original element; old wills, written by testators who have un- availingly tried to reach out of their graves to control their accumulations; records of trials in the courts, resulting in joys, sorrows and life-enduring emotions; old sermons and addresses arousing alike the believer and the skeptic; personal recitals and experiences; chimney-corner legends and old-wives' tales all tinged with ambiguity and uncertainty, yet all going to make history.

Stripped of this, what of William Tell, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln? It is the personal equation, the individual reminiscence, the good story, that gives zest and flavor to otherwise dreary and sleepy recitals, frequently a paying lead to a rich and valuable mine of historical accuracy.

 

Table of Contents

CHAPTER I.
TOPOGRAPHY AND GEOLOGY 1

CHAPTER II.
FIRST OCCUPANCY 14

CHAPTER III.
NATION RECOGNIZED AND ESTABLISHED

CHAPTER IV.
LAND TITLES IN STEUBEN COUNTY 69

CHAPTER V.
OLD ONTARIO COUNTY 84

CHAPTER VI.
EVOLUTION OF STEUBEN COUNTY 108

CHAPTER VII.
SLICES FROM STEUBEN COUNTY 147

CHAPTER VIII.
COURTS AND COURT HOUSES 162

CHAPTER IX.
COURTS AND LAWYERS 172

CHAPTER X.
THE MEDICAL PROFESSION 183

CHAPTER XI.
PIONEER RELIGIOUS FORCES 192

CHAPTER XII.
THE PRESS OF STEUBEN 196

CHAPTER XIII.
TRANSPORTATION AND COMMERCE 228

CHAPTER XIV.
BANKING AND BANKS 255

CHAPTER XV.
MANUFACTURERS AND PRODUCTS 289

CHAPTER XVI.
THE IMPERIAL OCCUPATION 297

CHAPTER XVII.
SCHOOLS, ESPECIALLY ACADEMIES 324

CHAPTER XVIII.
MILITARY HISTORY 351

CHAPTER XIX.
MILITARY HISTORY CONTINUED 366

CHAPTER XX.
OFFICERS OF THE LINE 466

CHAPTER XXI.
BENEVOLENT AND SOCIAL 446

CHAPTER XXII.
OLD HOMES AND MEMORIES 481

 

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VOLUME II - Biographical Sketches

 

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George B. Bradley, LL. D. Among the many men of eminence and influence that have honored the bar of Steuben county is the Hon. George B. Bradley, who was actively engaged in the practice of his profession in Corning, his present home, for upwards of half a century. A man of broad and comprehensive knowledge, his professional zeal and untiring industry made him a power upon the bench, and his decisions were seldom reversed. After a long and brilliant career he is now spending the closing years of his useful life free from business cares, enjoying a well merited leisure. He was born February 5, 1825, in Chenango county. New York, where his parents were early settlers.