History of Yates County, New York
In attempting the production of a History of Yates County, the publishers have not underestimated the difficulties and the magnitude of their task. Although Yates County is not a very old one, counting from its separate organization, it has, nevertheless seen more than a century of civilized occupation; and in this new world, as it is called, the settlement and growth of towns and villages, and the occurrence of important events in their progress, have advanced with almost marvelous rapidity, while the materials for history have accumulated in a corresponding ratio. In making a history of this county the publishers entered upon the task with a determination to leave nothing undone to spare no labor or expense that could in any manner contribute to the successful and creditable accomplishment of the work. Whether or not they have succeeded is a question left to the judgment of the readers.
It is believed that the general history of the county will give entire satisfaction to all who may peruse it, but in some degree the subjects therein treated are in more condensed form than in works published earlier than this; still it is thought that nothing is omitted from the present volume that is necessary to be preserved as a part of the record of Yates County, whether of general or town history. It is not claimed by the editor or by the publishers that this work is free from error, for it would be a thing unprecedented should there be found within its covers not a single inaccuracy ; nevertheless great care has been exercised to insure correctness in general and in detail.
The publishers are under many obligations of gratitude to the people of the county for their generous support in making this work a success, but there are persons whose services in the preparation of chapters have been so specially valuable as to entitle them to more than passing notice. In this connection may be mentioned the names of Hon. George R. Cornwell, from whose pen the county has the benefit of an elaborate chapter on Education; John N. Macomb, jr., who contributed the chapter on Free-Masonry; Hon. William S. Briggs, for his recollections of the "old bar" of the county; Steven B. Ayres, for the chapter on the Press; Walter Wolcott, for the Military chapter; George C. Snow, esq., for the chapter on the Vineyards and their Products; James Miller, for the chapter on Agriculture; Charles H. Martin, esq., for the history of Starkey; D.B. Cornell, for the history of Barrington.
With the expression of these obligations the Memorial History of Yates County is placed before the public by the editor and the publishers.
Table of Contents
The Subject Yates County Erected The older Counties The Terra Incognita Formation of Albany County Of Tryon County Of Montgomery County Of Ontario County Of Steuben County Yates formed from Ontario and Steuben Counties A general Topographical view of Yates County Its elevated Lands The lakes of the County 17
Doubtful Claims to Prehistoric Occupancy The Indian Occupation Its Nature and Extent Ancient Indian Traditions The Iroquois Confederacy Senecas occupy the region of Yates County Sites of Indian villages in this Locality Their principal Trails Remains of old Fortresses The Seneca Tradition The League of the Iroquois Conquests by Confederates 23
Early Explorations and Discoveries The French in Canada The Puritans in New England The English in Virginia The Dutch in New York Pound- ing of New France Champlain incurs the enmity of the Iroquois Its after Effects Adventures of De Nonville and La Salle Neutrality of the Iroquois during the early French Wars The French make friends with the Senecas Joncaire's Influence French forts built in the Seneca County Discomfiture of the English The Final Wars Extinction of French power in America 39
The English Dominion A brief resume of Events English conquest of the Dutch Settlements Condition of the Indians Still friendly to the French Pontiac's League The Senecas involved with Pontiac Devil's Hole and Black Rock Sir Wiliam Johnson makes friends with the Senecas The Revolutionary War Attitude of the Iroquois Wyoming and Cherry Valley Sullivan's Campaign Destruction of Indian Villages Cashong, in Yates County, Devastated The Indians retire to Fort Niagara Their treatment by the British Close of the Revolution Overthrow of British Rule The United States of America 48
Situation of the Indians at the close of the Revolution They are recognized as rightful owners of the Territory Treaties for the purchase of Indian Titles The Grand Council at Fort Stanwix Red Jacket opposes the Sale A brief sketch of the famous Chief The Medal The subject Resumed Conflicting claims by New York and Massachusetts Their Settlement Massachusetts owns the Genesee Country Yates County a part of it The New York Genesee Land Company The Niagara Genesee Land Company They Lease from the Six Nations Looking to the formation of a new State Imitating the action of Vermont The attempt fails Prompt action of Governor Clinton The Compromise and its Reward 57
The land Titles The Phelps and Gorham Purchase Its extent and Boundaries Troubles created by the Lessee Companies How Settled Consolidation of Interests Extinguishment of Indian Titles The old Pre-emption Line Fraud Practiced Town Surveys Sale to Robert Morris The latter sells to English capitalists Surveying the new Pre-emption Line The fraud Dis- covered New complications Arise How Settled Occupants of the "Gore" How Compensated Settlement with Charles Williamson, agent of the Poultney Association 66
Jemima Wilkinson, the Public Universal Friend First Emissary of the Friends' Society sent to explore the Genesee Country His unfavorable Report A Committee of Investigation Chosen The life of The Friend Her sickness, recovery, and singular Transformation Her Teachings Friend's Society Formed Her travels in New England and Pennsylvania The Friends the pioneers in Yates County Founding the New Jerusalem Their Trials and Hardships First wheat Sown The first Mill The coming of The Friend Her home and Meeting-house A dissension in the Society Some prominent members Withdraw ~ 'The purchase of Jerusalem Township The Friend's Purchase Her removal to Jerusalem Death of Sarah Richards Troubles following her Decease A serious Litigation Ultimate success of, the Friend's Cause Death of The Friend Her last "Will and Testament False prophets enter the Society Its decline and Downfall Members of the Society 76
Early efforts at Colonization and settlement Extent of Ontario County Steuben County set Off Towns of Ontario and Steuben which were erected into Yates County How first organized and their Extent The District of Jerusalem Bentoo and Milo set off Italy formerly part of Middletown Middlesex originally part of Augusta Barrington and Starkey come from Steuben County Torrey taken from Benton and Milo A Brief allusion to the War 1812-15 Public sentiment in this Locality 96
Organization of Yates County The Acts of the Legislature regarding it Glimpses at the inside History Naming the County Governor Yates its Godfather The first Court House and Jail destroyed by Fire The new Court-House The second Jail Burned The present Jail The Clerk's and Surrogate's Offices The County Farm and Property The civil List Federal Officers State Officers County Officers County Societies and Organizations 105
GEOLOGY OF YATES COUNTY 119
YATES COUNTY IN THE WAR OF 1861-65 128
THE BENCH AND BAR OF YATES COUNTY 103
THE MEDICAL PROFESSION OF YATES COUNTY 194
THE PRESS OF YATES COUNTY 207
ORIGIN, GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE EDUCATIONAL INTERESTS OF YATES COUNTY 212
THE VINEYARDS AND THEIR PRODUCTS 237
AGRICULTURE IN YATES COUNTY 246
FREEMASONRY IN YATES COUNTY 251
LAKE KEUKA AND ITS NAVIGATION 266
HISTORY OF THE TOWN OF MILO, AND OF THE INCORPORATED VILLAGE OF PENN YAN 270
HISTORY OF THE TOWN OF BENTON 35O
HISTORY OF THE TOWN OF STARKEY 369
HISTORY OF THE TOWN OF JERUSALEM 41O
HISTORY OF THE TOWN OF TORREY 431
HISTORY OF THE TOWN OF BARRINGTON 443
HISTORY OF THE TOWN OF POTTER 456
HISTORY OF THE TOWN OF MIDDLESEX 469
HISTORY OF THE TOWN OF ITALY 479
FAMILY SKETCHES 525
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The county of Yates, brought into existence by the legislative enactment passed by the two branches of the State legislature and approved by the governor on the 5th of February, 1823, was given the name of "Yates" in compliment to the then chief executive of the Commonwealth. Under all ordinary circumstances a work which purports to be the separate history of a county would naturally commence with its separate organization, but should such a plan be deemed advisable much of the early history made by the presence and deeds of men and families, and the occurrence of events within its territorial limits, would of necessity be omitted. And it is a fact well known that the specially interesting events of early history in Yates County transpired prior to its erection and separate organization. Even as far back as the time when this region formed a part of the old county of Albany, organized November 1, 1683, during the possession and dominion of the famous Iroquois Confederacy, this locality was making history through its aboriginal occupants. And still earlier than that time, in 1638, during the Dutch dominion in the New Netherlands, there appears to have been an indefinite and immature knowledge and organization in the region of Western New York, as afterward known, and to it was applied the name of Terra Incognita, from the Latin, meaning "an unknown county." But the Dutch were not adventurous explorers, and there is nothing of record to show that they ever made any extensive journeys into this then remote region; and whatever of jurisdictional authority they exercised over the country at all was confined to the locality of the Netherlands and New Amsterdam.