NAMES & PLACES IN
THE TOWN OF ELLERY
BAY VIEW - is located near Bemus Point on a bay with an excellent view of the lake. Twn: Ellery.
BELLEVIEW - is located between Bemus Point and Greenhurst. In 1886 William H. Shaw bought a boarding house from F. Griffith and named the hotel Bellview, after his wife, Bell. During the years the name has been altered with a middle letter "e" thus Belleview. In early days it was also spelled Bellevue. This location was a railroad stop. Twn: Ellery.
BEMUS POINT - was referred to as The Narrows. Looking at a map of Chautauqua Lake, one can easily understand the reason as it is the most narrow part of the entire lake. The Indian word Oniasonke is believed to mean "the narrows" or the "narrowing place" from the word oniasa meaning a neck or throat. Bemus Point was named for William Bemus, the first property owner in the Town of Ellery. He settled in the area in the spring of 1806. William Bemus was son-in-law of William Prendergast, first property owner in the region. Bemus Point was an early village on the lake and a stopping place for the very first steamboats. It is the east side landing of a cable ferry service. As Chautauqua Lake became a summer resort, several hotels were built, these being more of a family type than the elegant hostelries of other locations on the lake. Twn: Ellery
BEMUS POINT PARK - is located in the village of Bemus Point. The first house in Bemus Point was built on this property. Members of the William Bemus family, whose name the village bears, always intended that this property should be used for a park and with this end in view maple trees were planted and water was hauled in milk cans during a dry summer to keep them alive. These trees grew to beautiful specimens and perfected the natural advantages which this tract of land offered. Twn. Ellery.
BENEDICT SWAMP - (now called a wetland) is located in a timber lot on the farm formerly owned by Dr. Odin Benedict between the Ellery-Centralia Road and the Slide Road. Many a hunter has experienced being lost in this swamp. The following story is told about this swamp: Saturday evening in 1867 brought the usual gathering at Benedict’s Store in Ellery Center. The men were discussing the superiority of coal oil over raw pork for horse colic when in walked G.B.L. Everyone settled themselves comfortably knowing that G.B.L.’s wind-blown yarns usually were strung out longer than a taffy-pull. G. B. settled himself on the counter between the dried apple barrel and the cracker box. G.B. began his tale: "It was a night just like this that Phila Prudy and me went a fishing in Benedict’s Lake near the Slide Road."
Simeon Wilbur, proprietor of the Ellery Center Hotel, spoke up, "Benedict Lake. There ain’t no such place."
G. B. looked down his nose at the heckler, "There ain’t now," he admitted, "but there was some years ago. As I was saying, when I was interrupted, me and Prudy went fishing in Benedict’s Lake and had only fair to middling luck. We were getting ready to row back when coming from the woods, about a hundred rods from us, were the most ghostly groans Prudy and me ever heard. I was sort of scared and Prudy was whit’n a sheet, but we put down our poles and rowed hell-bent-for-election toward the shore." G. B. disappeared head first into the barrel and came up with a handful of dried apples. He munched one and asked, "Boys. what d’you suppose we found? There were hundreds of wolves, that had escaped the hunt over at Cassadaga. Well to make a long story short, they were mighty thirsty critters. We watched as they drank and drank and bloated with all the water. In a few minutes there lay the bodies. We felt pretty bad about the poor devils, but we felt worse when we saw beautiful Benedict’s Lake, a dark deep mudhole. Today all that’s left is Benedict’s Swamp. Good night gentlemen, thanks for listening."
"G.B.’s footsteps died away before his stunned audience came to its collective senses. A stranger who had dropped in asked innocently, "And who was that fellow?" "G. B.?" Will Putnam sputtered. "Don’t you know him? He’s G.B.L. or Gosh Blamed Liar. He lies so much he believes himself. Sometimes he lies so good we believe him until he gets away." Note: Benedict’s Swamp is presently (2003) on the farm owned by Loraine Smith and her son, Alfred Cornell and daughter, Malissa Smith. Twn. Ellery.
CHEDWELL - is an area developed by Ed Welch, near Midway Park. He rearranged letters of his name to name the locality. Twn: Ellery..
COLBURN’S - on the east side of Chautauqua Lake, between Belleview and Phillips Mills was a stop for the railroad. It was also called Colburn’s Bay although it is not a bay at all, but a shady little spot on the lake shore. Twn: Ellery.
CURTIS - was a railroad stop between Cold Springs and Fluvanna. Twn: Ellery.
DORMANS - was referred to as the end of the Thum Road in the Town of Ellery on the East Lake Road near Dewittville. Actually it was a night club which burned in 1935. Twn: Ellery.
DRIFTWOOD - in the Town of Ellery was referred to as the Crossroads leading from Jamestown to Mayville. The bodies in the Driftwood Cemetery were removed to the cemetery at Fluvanna. Twn: Ellery.
DUTCH HOLLOW - in 1814 Joseph Loucks and his family of seven sons and three daughters, some of them married, took up 400 acres of land in the upper end of a small valley in the south east corner of the Town of Ellery. The Loucks were said to be of Dutch descent and though they emigrated from Cazenovia in Madison County to Ellery, they originally came from the valley of the Mohawk in Herkimer County. For many years the Loucks Settlement, more than a mile in length, was called Loucks Hollow. Time changes names, thus we readily understand why today this is called Dutch Hollow. This also is the name of the creek in the valley. Strangely enough, the lower mile or so of the Dutch Hollow Creek is generally called "Griffith Creek." Twn: Ellery.
ELLERY CENTER - is located at the junction of the east-west county Rt. 44 and north-south county Rt. 57, the western junction of county Rt. 48 and the eastern end of county Rt. 46. The hamlet of Ellery Center was located near the center of Lots 26 and 27 and was first settled by Saul Smith, S. R. Ludington and Clark Parker in 1810. A post office was located at Ellery Center on February 8, 1826 and first was called Union Ellery, the name was changed several times to conclude the name Ellery Centre and finally on Feb. 2, 1865 the name of Ellery was used until the office closed on Dec. 31, 1900. By the early 1870’s Ellery Center had at the corners, one church (Baptist), a store, a hotel, blacksmith shop, copper shop, wagon shop, steam sawmill and 16 homes. Nearby were a cheese factory, a grist mill and a wood and cider mill. The Baptist Church at Ellery Center still stands today a reminder of early days of the once busy corners in the Town of Ellery. Twn: Ellery.
ELMHURST - is on the east side of Chautauqua Lake near Greenhurst. Once known for its many elm trees. Twn: Ellery..
GOOSE NECK - a section of the Hale Road in the Town of Ellery was known as the Goose Neck. At this point was a bridge and the road curved like that of the neck of a goose. This area was abandoned by the town in 1986 and the bridge later removed. Twn: Ellery.
GRASS ISLAND - about 100 years ago, it is said, there stood on what is called Grass Island, near the foot of Chautauqua Lake, near Greenhurst, Lakewood and Celoron, an old stone fort. Here the water was shallow, before the Warner Dam was built, and the island appeared above the surface during low water. The fort was described as being circular in shape, and directly beneath the eaves of the roof were a row of small holes such as used to be built into old time fortresses. Who built it or how long it had been there is not apparently known.
It is also said that someone who settled in Jamestown took a flatboat up the lake and tore the building down, using the stones for the foundation of a house he was then building. Some say that this person’s name was Allen, who lived at 43 Fairmont Avenue.
It is quite probably that some early expedition came through these parts erected the fortress as a means of protection, but what expedition it was will never be known.
A syndicate, with a deed to Grass Island, made the first move toward filling in the island. It was the intention to raise a portion of the two acres and make it suitable for building purposes. They planned to build a summer house on the island. A sailboat was used to haul boulders for filling the island. John H. Prather of the Chautauqua Building and Loan Association acted as trustee of the deed and was at the head of the movement. Some say this was also Whitney’s Island. Twn: Ellery. (See Whitney’s Island).
GREENHURST - is directly across Chautauqua Lake from Lakewood. It was named for the promoter of the allotment, Eleazer Green, of Jamestown.
In 1888, Eleazer Green had reclaimed the land from its swampy condition and established a fish hatchery there for the artificial propagation of muskellunge.
He interested himself in the subject of the fish culture, and devoted much time and attention to the subject of increasing the supply in Chautauqua Lake, of the muskellunge. The muskellunge had never been propagated artificially, and it was necessary to study its habits in order to successfully and intelligently do so.
In 1889 Green and along with silent partners C. S. Abbot and A. N. Broadhead, developed the Green and Brown Tract, laying out home sites, parks and playgrounds. The entire project was given the name Greenhurst. The Greenhurst Hotel was built and could accommodate 300 guests. Twn: Ellery.
GRIFFITH’S POINT - was named for Jeremiah Griffith, the second settler in the Town of Ellery. He was a native of Norwich, Conn. and settled in 1806 on the east side of Chautauqua Lake with his family. A heavy piece of glacial boulder was erected near the site. The original Griffith homestead stood some distance below the road in what is now a field, but the site was once the front yard of the Griffith home. Twn: Ellery.
JONES CORNERS - in Town of Ellery is at the intersection of Ellery-Centralia Road and Pickard Street. Festus Jones had a blacksmith shop here. The school built at the four corners was called Jones Corners District School. Twn: Ellery.
.LENOX - is at the corners of Townline Road and Salisbury Road in the Towns of Ellery and Gerry. Robert Lenox was born in the north of Ireland, came to Gerry from Yates County and died in 1839. He was the father of Robert, John and William Lenox. Their settlement was near this corner. Twns: Ellery and Gerry.
LONG POINT - is in the Town of Ellery. The Indian word Oniasa, which means a neck or throat, was used to identify Long Point on Chautauqua Lake. Long Point extends like a neck or point in the lake. For awhile Long Point was known as Giffords. Frank Gifford bought Long Point in 1887. He was married to Josephine Fenton, who was the daughter of Governor Reuben E. and Elizabeth Scudder Fenton. Twn: Ellery.
MAPLE GROVE - is located on the Dutch Hollow Road about a half mile south of Ellery Center. A country school was built at this site. The name Maple Grove derives from the big grove of Maple trees that were at this location. The Maple Grove Junior-Senior High School of the Bemus Point District is located a short distance from where the old country school was, in the Town of Ellery. Twn: Ellery.
MAPLE SPRINGS - what is now the hamlet of Maple Springs was formerly known as Point Whiteside, and prior to that, old timers knew the grove as Camp Collins. The original Maple Springs was a steamboat landing half a mile further down Chautauqua Lake. A settlement of cottages and a hotel was developed in the 1880’s at Point Whiteside, a few miles above Long Point. Subsequently, a half mile below, the colony of Maple Springs was built. Each had a separate steamer dock. These communities later were combined and for a time the single dock was called Midway. Later a post office and small village came into being and the name changed to Maple Springs.
Legend has it that Don Harewood named Maple Springs in the 1880’s for the maple trees that abound and the springs that came out of the hillside behind his house, just south of where Broadway meets the lake. Twn:: Ellery.
MARTHA’S VINEYARD - is located between Bemus Point and Greenhurst. Martha Griffith and her sister Ophelia operated a boarding house at this location. They were the daughters of John and Triphena (Bemus) Griffith. The location was also called Smiley’s Point in the late 19th century. It was used for a number of years, as a campground for a group of people from northeastern Ohio. In 1884 Frank Griffith built a small boarding house there and the name was changed to Point Mohoning, by request of some of the members of the Mahoning, Pa. Club, which camped there for several years. Twn: Ellery.
MIDWAY - on Chautauqua Lake, gained its name as a point midway between Jamestown and Mayville. A settlement of cottages and a hotel was developed in the late 1880’s at Point Whiteside a few miles above Long Point. Subsequently, a half mile below, the colony of Maple Springs was built. Each had a separate steamer dock. These communities later combined, and for a time the single dock was called Midway. Later a post office and small village came into being and the name changed to Maple Springs. In 1904 the name Midway, except for Midway Park, was no longer on county maps and Maple Springs became the name of the park’s location. Twn: Ellery.
MIDWAY PARK - As early as 1889, this land was leased by the Jamestown and Chautauqua Lake Railroad as a picnic grove. The park was developed to take the place of Long Point which was sold to private interests. However, it wasn’t until after the J. C. & L. E. Railroad became the Jamestown, Westfield and Northwestern Railway Company electric interurban line in 1914, that Midway became a dominant recreational park. In 1907 the first dock was built so the steamboats could let off, and take on passengers.
Midway Park once provided only a picnic area, when first built by the Railroad. Later the park offered a large roller skating rink, dance hall building, bath houses, refreshment stands, a merry-go-round and a roller coaster.
In May of 1934 the name of the park was known as New Midway Park, but only for that year. Midway Park still exists, the only one of the "trolley parks" left in the county. Today sounds of the organs of the merry-go-round and the roller skating rink can be heard. In years past an occasional whistle of the Jamestown-Westfield Traction car or a steamboat could also be heard. Twn: Ellery.
ORIENTAL PARK - is in the Town of Ellery, beside Bemus Point. In 1922, one of the biggest improvements along the east side of Chautauqua Lake was the landscaping work done at Oriental Park. There are 96 acres of land which compromise 500 lots which lay on both sides of the highway. Streets were built, trees planted and several wells drilled. Twn: Ellery.
PEST ROAD - on this road was located, many years ago, the Pest House. This house was a convalescent home for the isolation of persons with contagious diseases, particularly small pox. This house was located on the north side of Pest Road near the corner of Pest and Slide roads, from which the road received its name. The Pest House was a narrow two story building and not used after 1900. The property on Pest Road, the original location of the Pest House, transferred from Frank s. Pickard, Supervisor to the Town of Ellery to Anna L. Carlson, September 12, 1902. Anna L. Carlson to James Thomas in 1906. The James Thomas estate to Francis Miller who paid debts for Mr. Thomas’ funeral, etc. in 1918. This property is still (2003) in the Miller family. All that remains of the old Pest House are a few stones from the original foundation, and some say a few ghosts of the past still linger in the vicinity. Twn. Ellery.
PHILLIPS MILLS - near Bemus Point were named for the sawmills operated at that location by the George Phillips family. Twn: Ellery.
PICKARD STREET - in 1816, Adam S. and James Pickard settled on Lot 3 in Ellery. In a short time they removed to Lot 22 in the northern part. Joseph W. Pickard came later. Descendants resided upon the road named Pickard Street. For some reason, today this area is called Pickard Hill and Pickard Road. Twn: Ellery.
POINT STOCKHOLM - in 1827 John T. Soderholm, an enterprising Jamestown grocer on Main Street, Jamestown, and A. John Peterson, a hustling clothing merchant, purchased six acres of land near Griffith’s Point on Chautauqua Lake, for $546, which they planned to cut up into lots. The place was christened Point Stockholm.
Point Stockholm is also referred to as Stockholm. Some say that this little place was named after the city in Sweden. Twn: Ellery.
POINT WHITESIDE - a settlement of cottages and a hotel was developed in the 1880’s at Point Whiteside a few miles above Long Point. Subsequently, one-half mile below, the colony of Maple Springs was built. Each had a separate steamer dock. These communities later were combined, and for a time the single dock was called Midway. Later a post office and small village came into being and the name changed to Maple Springs. Twn: Ellery.
QUAIL TRAP - in the Town of Ellery was named for the number of quail, many under and around the school house which was called The Quail Trap School. This settlement was located on the corner of Maple Springs-Ellery Center Road and Mahanna Road. Twn: Ellery.
RED BIRD - this four corners in the Town of Ellery has a rather interesting story. Many years ago, some men were building a tavern and the new owner began testing the stock before much more than the bar was in place. Climbing to the rafters, he polished off the last dregs in his bottle and tossed it in the air proclaiming that whoever caught it could name the roads at the crossroads. Now it seems a General Parsons, who happened to be at the scene, one hopes not drinking while on duty, caught the bottle and announced Liberty Street and Red Bird. Liberty Street later became Pickard Street because all the families on the street were mostly the Pickards. However, Red Bird remained as the name of not only the street and the four corners, but also the tavern. This still does not answer why General Parsons called it Red Bird, but it does make for a colorful story. Twn: Ellery.
SALISBURY SETTLEMENT - was probably named after the family of Orson and Lucy Smith Salisbury. It is located in the Town of Ellery and the road from Ellery Center to Kimball Stand is called the Salisbury Road. Twn: Ellery.
SHELDON HALL - is located on the east side of Chautauqua Lake. Here a hotel used to stand. This location was very popular for vacations in days gone by. The area was named for the family of Ralph C. and Isabella Marvin Sheldon. Twn: Ellery.
SHORE ACRES - is the area along Chautauqua Lake between Oriental Park and Phillips Mills, near Bemus Point. Twn: Ellery.
SKUNK HOLLOW - in the Town of Ellery was for many years known as Skunk’s Misery. On an abandoned road was a sizable dump where an abundance of fat skunks lived. This was a popular place for men and boys to trap the black and white critters. When a couple of new homes were built in the area the road was reopened and renamed Skunk Hollow. Twn: Ellery.
SLIDE - A locality northeast of Ellery Center was familiarly known as the Slide. The territory seemed to embrace one entire school district, hence if you had inquired of the teacher from that place where he was employed one winter, he would answer, "Upon the Slide."
This noted section of Ellery is situated upon the headwaters of Tower Brook, and nearly the whole area inclines quite rapidly towards the bed of this stream, from the little brown schoolhouse that was on the height of ground, to the former residence of Moses Wood in the valley. About three-fourths of a mile, there was a well beaten snow track which formed a very enticing route for the boys and girls of the school to try the exhilarating effect of a good long ride on hand sleds.
The first settlement in this part of Ellery was made by John P. and Henry Hanchett, from Cayuga County, in 1821. These men were brothers who had married sisters and daughters of Sawtell, and moved into the woods. John P. taking the east half of Lot 20 and Henry the west.
About 1827 John P. had a large "chopping" a little northeast of the school house, and made a logging bee which brought together a large company. As was customary at that time, whiskey was supplied without stint and drink from the jug without measure. The job was finished before night and the men were all jolly over the fumes and efforts of the day. No one was willing to acknowledge that he had drank too much, and the most of the men were calling for more....Francis W. Winchester, a comical genius always full of wit and humor, proposed a test of sobriety, by placing a stone boat at a sharp angle, with one end on the ground and the other on a large log heap, and the man who expected another drink must be able to walk up this inclined plane without sliding back. The trial is said to have been made by every man present, and generally with rather poor success, amidst the shouts and laughter of the crowd. Many of the men would not be satisfied without repeating the trial a dozen times or more, and this only increased the hilarity of the occasion. A very few succeeded, and these were put to the further test of mounting the heap of logs over an inclined plane of basswood bark, with the smooth and shiny side uppermost. No one could accomplish this feat but Winchester, who, after mounting to his elevated position made his companions a speech, suitable to the occasion, and closing by naming the place, "The Slide."
In the summer of 1829, Elhanan Winchester built a sawmill near the former residence of Moses Wood, and until it was demolished a few years later, it was known as the Slide Saw Mill. Elhanan Winchester was a veteran of the Revolution. His brothers were: Marcus, Honadab, Jotham, Francis, Ebenezer, Herman and Hartford, who all settled in the town. Ebenezer was early associated with Horace Greeley in publishing the "New Yorker." Samuel B. Winchester, the father of the Winchesters came later and was twice married. He had twenty-three children, it is said.
SMILEY SETTLEMENT - was in the Town of Ellery. William Smiley in 1810 removed to Ellery and died in 1825. His sons, Joseph and William served in the War of 1812 and participated in the Battle of Buffalo, in which William was killed. A grandson of William, was killed at the Battle of the Wilderness during the Civil War. Twn: Ellery.
THUM ROAD - The Nicholas Thum family settled in 1821 the area that we know as the Thum Road in the Town of Ellery. Aided by his sons, Melchert and Asa, the wilderness was cleared and a farm was established, becoming one of the outstanding farms in the area. In the late 1800’s the farm was operated by Nicholas’s grandson, S. Dwight Thum. Dwight is credited with having built the first silo in the Town of Ellery in 1889. He was also Justice of the Peace and Supervisor of the Town of Ellery, first elected in 1891. Twn: Ellery.
TOWERVILLE - is in the Town of Ellery. About 1810 Elisha Tower took up 176 acres of land, later called Towerville. Elisha Tower built a sawmill in 1827, which burned after running 18 months and was reported to have been rebuilt and running in six days. This mill was on Tower Run, a small stream headed in Ellery. Elisha was the son of Isaiah and Sylvia Toby Tower, who was born in New Bedford, Mass, May 10, 1788. Twn: Ellery.
WARNER’S BAY - located on Chautauqua Lake between Bemus Point and Maple Springs. Named after Albert Warner family who had a farm there. Twn: Ellery.
WEST ELLERY - is located in western part of the Town of Ellery. The first church services at West Ellery were held in 1808 at the home of John Putnam. Twn: Ellery.
SOURCE: Loraine Smith, Ellery Town Historian, 2003.