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and Ransom's Grove,) occupied a hut, and was manufacturing Indian trinkets; Lark Jennings had a log tavern on the bank of the Lake; the Lessee Company had a framed tavern and trading establishment, covered with bark, on the Lake shore, "near where the bluff approaches the Lake," which was occupied by Dr. Benton. There was a cluster of log houses all along on the low ground near the Lake shore. The geographical designations were "hill and bottom." Peter Ryckman and Peter Bortle were residing there, and several others whose names are not recollected. Col. Seth Reed was residing at the Old Castle. Dominick Debartzch, an Indian trader from Montreal, was rather the great man of the country. His principal seat was the Cashong farm, which he claimed as an Indian grant, and where he had a trading establishment; though his trade extended to the western Indians, among whom he went after selling his claim to the Cashong farm to the late Major Benj. Barton, of Lewiston.*
The Lessees were then strenuously claiming all of the lands of the six nations up to the old pre-emption line. A letter from one of the company at Geneva, to one of the Canada associates, dated in Nov. '88, speaks confidently of a compromise with the State, " by which we shall be enabled to hold a part, if not the whole of the lands contained in our lease." To further this object, it is proposed that the Canada influence shall be brought to bear upon the Indians; and that a strong delegation of the chiefs shall be at Albany when the legislature meets, and "remonstrate openly to the sovereignty of tho State, against the late proceedings at Fort Stanwix, and demand the restitution of their lands."f In April and May, 1789, the New York company held out to their Canada associates, the strongest assurances of being enabled with their assistance, to induce the Inlians to abide by the Lease, instead of their cessions to the State; but in the fall of that year, they began to be disposed to take whatever they could get. In September, one of the auditors of the " New
* John H. Jones witnessed the confirmation of this bnrgain. Major Barton, in part payment, pulled off his overcoat, and gave it to Debartzch. It his heretofore been Bald that the purchase was made of Poudry. Mr. Jones corrects this, and says that Poudry at the time was a servant of Debartzch, occasionally assisting him in the Indian trade. Both gloried in native wives.
t In the month of September preceding, the Onondagas had, at a treaty at Fort Stanwix, ceded their lands to the State; and in the same month, the Oneida* had ceded theirs.
York Genesee Company," writing to the " Niagara Genesee Company," says :—" Our business has fallen much short of our first idea;" and after asking their concurrence in a proposed compromise with the State, the letter closes with, " I am, with due respect, but like the rest of the company at this time, somewhat dejected, your very humble servant."
All that was done at Geneva previous to the spring of 1793, was under the auspices of Reed and Ryckman and the Lessees. The little backwoods village that had grown up there, the scattered settlements in the Lessee towns and upon the Gore, and at Jerusalem, constituted a majority perhaps of all the population west of Seneca Lake. "The district of Seneca," which, so far as organization was concerned, embraced all the region north to Lake Ontario, and the Lessee towns, had its first town meeting in April, 1793. It was held at the house of Joshua Fairbanks, who still survives, a resident of 'Lewiston, Niagara county. Ezra Patterson was chosen Supervisor, Thomas Sisson, Town Clerk. Other town officers, Oliver Whitmore, Jas. Rice, Phineas Pierce, Patrick Burnett, Samuel Wheedon, Peter Bortle, Jr., Sanford Williams, Jonathan Oaks, David Smith, Benjamin Tuttle, Wm. Smith, Jr., David Benton, Benj. Dixon, Amos Jenks, John Reed, Caleb Culver, Charles Harris, Stephen Sisson, W. Whitmore, Joseph Kilbourn, Scba Squires.
In 1791, Ambrose Hull was Supervisor. Store and tavern licenses were granted to Graham S. Scott, Thomas Sergeants, Joseph Annin, Hewson & Co. 1795, Timothy Allen was Supervisor, and Samuel Colt, Town Clerk; town meeting was held at the house of Ezra Patterson, who was chosen Supervisor of the town for several successive years. In 1800, the number of persons assessed to work on the highways in the town of Seneca, was 290.
Mr. Williamson turned his attention to Geneva, in the spring of 1793; and as will be observed, many of the early reminiscences of the locality occur in connection with him. In fact, Geneva is more or less mingled with the earliest events of the whole region. It was the door or gateway to the Genesee country, and there our race first made a stand preliminary to farther advances.
Herman H. Bogert, commenced the practice of law in Geneva, in 1797, being now the oldest resident member of the profession, except Judge Howell, in western New York. His father was Isaac Bogart, a captain in the Revolution, attached to the New York line; was at the siege of Fort Stanwix, and at the close of the war became a merchant in Albany. The son was preceded in his profession at Geneva, only by Henry H. Van Rensselaer, who remained but a few years.
Mr. Bogert observes, that at the period he came to Geneva, land speculations were at their height; high prices were the order of the day; board was 81,00 per week at the hotel; and all things were going on as swimmingly as in the later years, 1830, '37. Eligible building lots of three-fourths of an acre, sold for $500; farming lands in the neighborhood, sold for $5,00 an acre, that afterwards brought but $2 and $3,00. Mr. Williamson had a sloop upon the Lake that was engaged in bringing down lumber. The mail was brought from Albany once in two weeks upon horseback. Mr. Williamson's head quarters were then principally at the Geneva Hotel. In addition to his other enterprizes, he was actively engaged in the construction of the turnpike.
Mr. Bogert is now 77 years of age; his wife, the daughter of John Witbeck, of Red Hook, who also survives, is 73. Charles A. Bogert of Dresden, Yates county, is a son; a daughter became the wife of Derick C. Delamater, of Columbia county; another, of Herman Ten Eyck, of Albany; another, of Godfrey J. Grosvenor, of Geneva.
Early lawyers in Geneva, other than Mr. Bogert, Pollydore B. Wisner, Daniel W. Lewis, Robert W. Stoddard, John Collins, David Hudson. Mr. Wisner was an early District Attorney. He died in 1814. He was from Orange county; studied law with Richard Varick; at one period member of the Legislature. Mr. Lewis died within a few years in Buffalo, leaving no children. An adopted daughter of his was the wife of Stephen K. Grosvenor, and is now the wife of the Rev. Dr. Shelton, of Buffalo. Mr. Stoddard died in 1847. A son of his is a practicing lawyer in Brooklyn, and another son is an officer of the navy. Mr. Collins is now a practicing lawyer in Angelica. Mr. Hudson still survives, and continues a resident of Geneva. Mr. Parks is yet a practicing Attorney
Note.—Mr. Bogert, among other interesting reminiscences of early times, which the author has used in other connections, speaks of a marked event—a thunder storm in 1797. There seemed to be a meeting of two large, dense, black clouds. For two hours, there was peal after peal, in quick succession, of thunder; not unlike the reports of parks of artillery. Water spouts roso upon the Lake, column after column; the atmosphere seemed on fire; the whole was a scene of grandeur and terror, that Ma had few parallels.
in Geneva. He studied law with Lewis and Collins, and was admitted to practice in 1814. In the war of 1812, he was upon the frontier, and in the battle of Queenston, in command of a company of volunteers.
The early merchants of Geneva, other than those who were located there under Indian and Lessee occupancy, were: Grieve and Moffat, Samuel Colt, Richard M. Williams, Elijah H. Gordon, Richard M. Bailey, Abraham Dox. Grieve & Moffatt established the first brewery in all this region. Mr. Grieve was in the employ of Mr. Williamson, in the earliest years, as it is presumed Mr. Moffat war', as his name occurs in connection with the early movements at Sodus. Mr. Grieve was out in the war of 1812, a colonel, under Gen. McClure. He died in 1835. Mr. Moffat removed to Buffalo. Richard M. Williams became a farmer in Middlesex, Ontario county, (or in Yates county) where he died a few years since; a son of his was lately in the Senate of this State, Mr. Colt was a brother of Joseph Colt, the early merchant of Canandaigua, Auburn, and Palmyra. He removed to New York, and on a visit to Geneva, attending the commencement at the College, he died suddenly, at the Hotel, in 1834. Mr. Baily is still living. He entered the regular army in 1812; had a staff appointment, was taken prisoner at the battle of Queenston; went to Quebec in company with Gen. Scott, where he was parolled.
Elijah H. Gordon is one of the three or four survivors of all who were residents of Geneva previous to 1798; is in his 80th year. His goods came in early years, from Schenectady, via the usual water route, costing for transportation, generally about $3 per cwt. Barter trade, in furs especially, constituted his principal early business; potash and ginseng was added after a few years.
Mr. Gordon was a Judge of Ontario county courts in early years ; and the second Post Master at Geneva, succeeding Walter Grieves, who was the first. His two sons, John H, and Win. W. Gordon, reside in Washington, Louisana.
Dr. Adams was a physician in Geneva in the earliest years of settlement. Dr. John Henry and Daniel Goodwin, were the earliest permanent physicians, Dr. Henry died in 1812. Dr. Goodwin removed to Detroit, where he died a few years since. Stephen A. Goodwin, an attorney at law, in Auburn, is a son of his; another son, Daniel Goodwin, is an attorney in Detroit.
A Presbyterian society was organized in Geneva, as early as 1798. In July of that year, a meeting was held; John Fulton and Oliver Whitmore presided; Oliver Whitmore, Elijah Wilder, Septimus Evans, Ezra Patterson, Samuel Latta, Wm. Smith, jr., and Pollydore B. Wisner, were chosen trustees. The Rev. Jedediah Chapman became the first settled minister, continuing as such, until his death in 1813. He was succeeded by the Rev. Henry Axtell. The society built a church in 1811.
In 1806, "nineteen persons of full age, belonging to the Protestant Episcopal church, assembled, and there being no Rector, John Nicholas presided." Trinity church was organized by the election of the following officers:— John Nicholas and Daniel W. Lewis, Wardens; Samuel Shekell, John Collins, Robert S. Rose, Richard Hughes, Ralph T. Wood, David Nagler, Jas. Reese, Thomas Powell, Vestrymen.
The Rev. Davenport Phelps was the first officiating clergyman; was succeeded by the Rev. Orrin Clark, who officiated for many years. He died in 1828. The society erected a church in 1809, which was removed, and its site occupied by the present Trinity Church, in 1845.
Baptist and Methodist societies were organized, and churches erected, soon after the war of 1612, but the author has no farther record or information concerning them.
Among the earliest mechanics at Geneva, were: Wm. Tappan, John and Abraham B. Hall, John Sweeny, Elisha Douner, Moses Hall, W. W. Watson, John Woods,* Lucius Cary, Jonathan Doane.f Foster Barnard, Richard Lazalere, Jacob and Joseph Backenstose. J
John Nicholas, emigrated from Virginia, and settled at Geneva in 1804. He was a lawyer by profession, but had retired from practice. He was for several terms, a member of the State Senate, and a Judge of the courts of Ontario. He engaged extensively in
* Mr. Wood, was also an early landlord.
t He erected the primative churches; was the father of Bishop Doane of New Jersey, who received his primary education in Geneva.'
t They were brothers, came to Geneva in the earliest years. They were the pioneer tailors of the Genesee country. Time was, when to wear a coat from their press board, marked the wearer as an aristocrat Men going to Congress, or the Legislature, generally got a coat from a "Geneva tailor," but never before election. "Generals" and "Colonels" sometimes indulged insuch an extravagant luxury. The surviving sons of Jacob, arc:—John Barkenstore a merchant of Geneva, and Jacob and Frederick, of Bloomfield. Jacob Barkenstore yet survives, a resident of Lockport.