History of Ontario County, New York, part 1

“History of Ontario County, New York: With Illustrations and Family Sketches of Some of the Prominent Men and Families” is a comprehensive historical compilation, organized by Lewis Cass Aldrich and meticulously edited by George Stillwell Conover. Published in 1893 by D. Mason & Co., Syracuse, N.Y., this monumental work illuminates the rich tapestry of Ontario County’s past. Recognizing the voluminous nature of the original single volume, it has been thoughtfully divided into two parts for convenience and accessibility. Part 1 encompasses the historical and biographical narrative of Ontario County, laying the foundation for the genealogical treasures contained in Part 2. See Part 2.

The narrative acknowledges the inherent challenges of historical documentation—echoing Samuel Johnson’s wisdom on human fallibility and its repercussions. This work ventures to chronicle Ontario County’s unique saga during pivotal moments in American history, spanning from the French and English War through the War of 1812-15. These pages aim to rectify the oversight of historically significant events and figures that have been previously neglected in mainstream narratives, thereby enriching our understanding of the region’s contribution to national history.

True to the essence of historical inquiry, the authors strive for accuracy and reliability, heavily relying on official records and the invaluable assistance of the local community. The compilation process, spanning nearly two decades, has been a testament to the collaborative spirit of the county’s residents, whose contributions and support have been instrumental in the creation of this work.

History of Ontario County, New York, Part 1, not only serves as an historical record but also as a gesture of gratitude towards the people of Ontario County, whose enthusiasm and support had been pivotal. It is a historical treasure trove, meticulously documenting the county’s journey through chapters on early explorations, indigenous populations, pivotal wars, and the socio-political evolution of the region. Through detailed narratives of towns and villages, such as Canandaigua, Geneva, and Victor, the reader is offered a window into the life, struggles, and triumphs of the county’s inhabitants.

Table of Contents – Part I

Chapter I.
European Discoveries and Early Occupations —Scandinavians Discover Iceland and Greenland — Columbus’s Tropical Discoveries — Early Voyages of John and Sebastian Cabot — Jacques Cartier Sails up the St. Lawrence — Champlain Founds the Colony in New France — Visits the Iroquois Country — Henry Hudson at New York and Albany — English Colonies Founded in Virginia and Massachusetts — Each Power Claims the Territory, p. 17

Chapter II.
Claims to Pre-Historic Occupation — The First Occupants of the Region — The American Indian – The Iroquois Confederacy — Its Organization and System of Government — The Five and Six Nations — Final Downfall of the Confederacy, p. 23

Chapter III.
The Seneca Indians, the Original Occupants of Ontario County — Their Origin The French First Visit the Senecas — Beginning of Hostilities — Seneca Villages and their Location — Missionaries among the Indians — Results of their Labors, p. 35

Chapter IV.
The Seneca Indians — Continuation of the Preceding Chapter — English Colonists Incite the Iroquois against the French — The Latter Retaliate — Courcelles’s Expedition — Denonville Invades the Seneca Country and Destroys the Villages — Their Subsequent Building Up — Names and New Locations, p. 42

Chapter V.
French and English Rivalry — The Iroquois Destroy Montreal — The Treaty at Ryswick — Queen Anne’s War — The Five Nations Become the Six Nations — Joncaire’s Trading Post — Events Preceding the French and English War — Attitude of the Iroquois — Influence of Sir William Johnson — The Senecas Remain Neutral, but Favor the French – Final Overthrow of French Power in America, p. 50

Chapter VI.
Pontiac’s War — Devil’s Hole and Black Rock — Sir William Johnson Concludes a Peace with the Senecas — Treaty at Fort Niagara — Events Preceding the Revolution — Outbreak of the War — The Senecas Serve the King — Kanadesaga Becomes Headquarters for Tories — Butler’s Buildings — Indian Outrages on the Frontier — The Principal Actors — Sullivan Ordered to Invade the Indian Country — Destruction of the Villages and Crops — The Senecas Flee to Fort Niagara — Details of the Invasion of Ontario County — Close of the Revolution, p. 59

Chapter VII.
Condition of the Six Nations at the Close of the Revolution — Their Treatment by the State Government — Treaty at Fort Stanwix — Land Grants Sought to be Secured — Operations of the New York Genesee Land Company and the Niagara Genesee Land Company — The Long Leases — How Obtained — Controversy Between New York and Massachusetts — Its Settlement — Annulled by the State — The New State Project — Its Promoters — How Regarded in Ontario County, p. 74

Chapter VIII.
The Phelps and Gorham Purchase — Rev. Samuel Kirkland Superintends the Purchase of the Indian Titles — Treaty at Buffalo Creek — Mr. Phelps Secures the Influence of Certain Lessees — The Purchase and Its Approval — Tie Proprietors Fail in Their Payments — Sale to Robert Morris — The London Associates — The Pre-emption Line — Error and Fraud Charged — The Re-survey — Charles Williamson, p. 85

Chapter IX.
A Brief Chapter Devoted to the Settlement by the Society of Friends in what is now Yates County — An Outline History of the Society and of its Remarkable Leader, Jemima Wilkinson, alias “The Friend” — Early Grist-Mills, p. 102

Chapter X.
Original County Organizations — Albany County — Tryon County Formed — Name Changed to Montgomery — Ontario County Created — Its Extent and Population — The First County Officers – The County Seat — The County Buildings — Civil Divisions of Ontario County — Subsequent County Erection; which Took Lands of Original Ontario — Formation of the Towns now Comprising Ontario County — The County Civil List, p. 107

Chapter XI.
Early Settlement in Ontario County — Character of the Pioneers — Yankees, English, Scotch and Irish — Disturbances on the Frontier — British Soldiers Still Occupy Forts on the United States Side of the Treaty Line — The Simcoe Scare — Their Withdrawal in 1796 — Events Preceding the War of 1812-15 — Political Sentiment in Ontario County — “War” and “Peace” Meetings — The Outbreak, the Struggle and Final Peace — Population of the County at Different Periods, p. 121

Chapter XII.
Ontario County In The Rebellion, 1861-65, p. 136

Chapter XIII.
The Bench And Bar Of Ontario County, p. 154

Chapter XIV.
The Medical Profession Of Ontario County, p. 179

Chapter XV.
History Of The Town And Village Of Canandaigua, p. 198

Chapter XVI.
History Of The Town And Village Of Geneva, p. 253

Chapter XVII.
History Of The Town Of Manchester, p. 328

Chapter XVIII.
History Of The Town Of Phelps, p. 349

Chapter XIX.
History Of The Town Of Victor, p. 365

Chapter XX.
History Of The Town Of Naples, p. 377

Chapter XXI.
History Of The Town Of Farmington, p. 387

Chapter XXII.
History Of The Town Of Gorham, p. 395

Chapter XXIII.
History Of The Town Of East Bloomfield, p. 402

Chapter XXIV.
History Of The Town Of Seneca, p. 412

Chapter XXV.
History Of The Town Of Hopewell, p. 421

Chapter XXVI.
History Of The Town Of Bristol, p. 430

Chapter XXVII.
History Of The Town Of South Bristol, p. 438

Chapter XXVIII.
History Of The Town Of West Bloomfield, p. 443

Chapter XXIX.
History Of The Town Of Richmond, p. 451

Chapter XXX.
History Of The Town Of Canadice, p. 457

Chapter XXXI. Biographical

Anderson, George Bradley, p. 496
Callister, John, p. 512
Chamberlain, Frank O., p. 503
Conover, George Stillwell, p. 517
Gibson, Henry B., p. 487
Granger Family, The, p. 469
Hawkins, Jeremiah, p. 502
Hicks, Edwin, p. 498
Howell, Alexander Hamilton, p. 466
Howell, Nathaniel Woodhull, p. 464
Howell, Thomas Morris, p. 467
Jewett, Harvey, M.D.,, p. 494
Lansing, Henry Livingston, p. 491
Lewis, Joseph S., p. 509
Mackey, Ansel, p. 505
Milliken, Nathan J., p. 516
Phillips, George H., p. 500
Pierce, Andrew, p. 480
Smith, A. B., Dr., p. 513
Smith, James Cosslett, p. 511
Taylor, Henry L., p. 501
Wheat, Corydon, p. 475


Aldrich, Lewis Cass, compiler, George Stillwell Conover, editor, History of Ontario County, New York : with illustrations and family sketches of some of the prominent men and families, Syracuse, N.Y. : D. Mason & Co., 1893.


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