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LEROY TOWN, GENESEE COUNTY, NYGENWEB PROJECT

HISTORY

as taken from The Gazetteer and Business Directory of Genesee County, N.Y. for 1869-70

 
Transcribed by Kristy Lawrie Gravlin - hannah@teleport.com

The Town of LeRoy, Genesee County, New York

as taken from The Gazetteer and Business Directory of Genesee County, N.Y. for 1869-70; Compiled and published by Hamilton Child, Syracuse, NY, 1869.

LeRoy, was formed from Caledonia (Livingston Co.) as "Bellona," June 8, 1812. It received its present name April 6, 1813, in honor of Herman LEROY, one of the original purchasers of the "Triangle Tract." A part of Stafford was taken off in 1820 and a part of Pavilion in 1842. It is the central town on the east border of the County. The surface is high or gently undulating. A limestone ridge, from 40 to 100 feet high, extends through the north part of the town. Oatka Creek, the principal stream, enters the town near the south-west corner and flows north-east to a point a little north of the center, then turns and flows in a south-easterly direction, leaving the town near the center of the east border. The creek flows over the limestone ridge in a beautiful cascade ninety feet in hight [sic]. When the water is low it disappears in the bed of the stream about two miles above the falls, passes through a subterranean channel and appears again below the falls. The soil generally is a sandy and gravelly loam. Gypsum and Onondaga Limestone, for building purposes, are obtained at various points in the town. In the east part, south of Oatka Creek, is an extensive tract of oak openings; it is very stony and hard to cultivate.

LeRoy, (p. v.) situated on the Oatka Creek, was incorporated May 5th, 1834. It contains seven churches, viz., Methodist Baptist, Episcopal, Presbyterian, Congregationalist, Roman Catholic and Universalist; the Ingham University, Academic Institute, a newspaper office, two banks, two flouring mills, a tannery and several other manufactories, a good number of hotels and stores, and about 3,000 inhabitants. The Canandaigua & Niagara Falls R.R. and the Buffalo, N.Y. & Erie R.R., extend through the village. The streets are bordered by beautiful rows of shade trees and the plank side walks are giving way to substantial flag stone. The educational facilities of the place, added to the other attractions, render it one of the most desirable residences in Western New York.

The LeRoy Flouring Mills have a capacity of about 150 barrels per day.

The LeRoy Malt Houses consist of three stone buildings, 300 by 40 feet, with a capacity of 100,000 bushels during the season. These buildings were erected by Hon. A. S. UPHAM in 1853-54, for the manufacture of cars for the N.Y.C. R.R. In 1857 the Company withdrew their patronage and the buildings were unoccupied until 1863, when they were converted into malt houses and have been used for that purpose since.

The Genesee Co. Paper Mill is located about half a mile north of the railroad depot. It was formerly a flouring mill, but in 1868 was converted into a mill for the manufacture of all kinds of wrapping paper.

Ingham University, for young ladies, is located at this place. The institution was founded by Misses Marietta and Emily E. INGHAM, from Saybrook, Conn., in the year 1835. After several years of marked growth and prosperity, under their private management, for the purpose of securing it as a permanent public institution, devoted to the Christian education of young ladies, the property to the value of more than $20,000 was donated to the Synod of Genesee, upon the condition that a full collegiate course should be established and a permanent fund raised for its support. The Institution was chartered with University privileges and powers in 1857. For several years thereafter Rev. Samuel Hanson COX, D. D., presided over its interests as its first Chancellor, and vigorously exerted himself to make it the model Institution of the State for the complete training of woman for her preeminent duties and responsibilities in the world. Col. Phineas STAUNTON, the husband of the younger of the founders, was its first Vice Chancellor, and he continued an earnest and effective laborer for its interests until his decease in 1867. A distinguished artist himself, he elevated the Art Department to a high rank; and the genius with which he wrought has become a permanent inspiration to move the Department still forward in the direction of the beautiful, the true and the good. The School of Art continues to furnish unusual facilities in all the departments of drawing, painting and design, and attracts hither many pupils who enjoy the advantages of a gallery of many pictures of rare merit, valued at not less than $20,000. The Institution has adopted three courses of study adapted to the wants of different classes of pupils. Special attention is given to the Department of Vocal and Instrumental Music. The libraries and cabinet are ample to supply the wants of the students. The Institution has a valuable museum of 700 rare birds and a great variety of curious and instructive specimens from South America and other parts of the world. There are two literary societies with their libraries and pleasantly furnished rooms. It is in contemplation to erect a fire proof building for an art gallery, that the valuable collection of works of art may be placed in a position where their merits may be more conspicuous and at the same time be less exposed than now to the casualties of fire. The people of LeRoy can well afford to bear the expense of a suitable building for the sake of preserving so valuable a collection in their village. The officers of the University are: Rev. Samuel D. BURCHARD, D.D., Chancellor and President of the Board of Councilors; Mrs. E. E. INGHAM STAUNTON, Vice Chancellor and Treasurer; Rev. W. L. PARSONS, D.D., Secretary and Assistant Treasurer. The Faculty consists of twelve professors and teachers. All needed information is contained in the catalogue which will be sent on application to the Secretary.

The LeRoy Academic Institute, boarding and day school, (English and classical) for both sexes, was incorporated at the beginning of the year 1864, the first term of instruction commencing January 5th. The establishment of this Institution was the result of an effort to secure a sounder and more practical education for the youth of the town and vicinity than they had before enjoyed. Originating with a few earnest citizens, the movement soon spread, meeting with such encouragement that before many months it assumed definite form and respectable proportions, the school commencing with a full corps of professional teachers and about one hundred pupils. It rapidly grew into favor in the community, soon doubling its attendance and requiring ample accommodations. These were promptly furnished by subscriptions to its stock from the friends of education throughout a somewhat extended section, the town itself, in recognition of the high character of the school, appropriating, by a decisive vote, $10,000 for the purpose. Thus placed on a permanent footing, it is now in a very flourishing condition. Its property is valued at over $35,000; it enjoys a central and beautiful location, occupies a new and commodious building, and has a well conducted boarding house under the oversight of the Principal. The pupils, whose ages range from 8 to 25, are divided into four grades; the course of study is full and thorough, embracing the English language and literature, mathematics, natural and mental science, Latin and Greek, French and German, together with drawing and vocal and instrumental music; the discipline is strict, though the end in view is to teach the pupils self-government. The Principal, Mr. E. H. RUSSELL, has been in the school from its commencement, with a brief interval of absence, and has the assistance of five experienced teachers. Mr. Chauncey L. OLMSTED is President of the Board of Trustees, and Lucius N. BANGS, Esq., Secretary.

The first settlement of this town was commenced in 1797, by Charles WILBUR, about a mile east of the village. He opened an inn here and the next year sold out to Capt. John GANSON, who removed with his family, among whom were three sons, John, James and Benjamin. The place was called "Ganson's Settlement," and the hotel was for many years considered the best on the Albany and Buffalo Road. Joseph HEWITT, Samuel DAVIS, _______ SCOFIELD and Jesse BEACH came in about the same time. Scofield was the pioneer shoe maker and Beach the first blacksmith. They settled near the present residence of Dr. SHELDON. Cyrus DOUGLASS located on the west side of Mad Creek, and Amaziah STOUGHTON on the east side. Friend HALL settled opposite the stone school house. Gilbert HALL, from Bloomfield, came in in 1799; he had an unfinished house on the PHELPS farm. Daniel DAVIS and Philemon NETTLETON located on the farm now owned by _______ ANDROSS. Capt. Jotham CURTIS, from Albany Co., settled on the farm now owned by S. L. DIX, and Gardner CARVER settled the same year.

The first marriages were in the fall of 1800, when Daniel DAVIS and Naomi LE BARRON, and Gardner CARVER and Lydia DAVIS were married. The first house, erected on the place now owned by Dr. SHELDON, was built by Hinds CHAMBERLAIN, who opened an inn about Christmas, 1799, and in 1801 sold out to Asher BATES, of Canandaigua, who kept a public house for several years. James FOX and Abel NETTLETON came in in 1802, and James DAVIS, Jr., in 1803. In 1801 Richard M. STODDARD became the agent for the Triangle Tract, and Dudley SALTONSTALL became associated with him in the purchase of 500 acres, embracing most of the village site. Saltonstall soon after sold his interest to Ezra PLATT, of Canandaigua, who came here in 1802. Richard WAITE, from Bloomingfield, came about the same time. Thaddeus KEYES was the first tanner in the town. In 1801 a bridge was built over Oatka Creek, where the present Main street bridge is. John GANSON, Charles WILBUR and Jotham CURTIS were the commissioners to build the bridge, and James GANSON the builder. A shanty was built on the east side of the creek to accommodate the workmen. It required five days to raise the frame work of the bridge. Mr. STODDARD erected a land office, and subsequently a house, on the site of the Eagle Hotel, and opened an inn. In 1803 Ezra Platt built a framed house on the corner of Main and Church streets, and in 1804 S. A. WOLCOTT built a small framed house on the site of the University. The first grist mill was built in 1803, by Stoddard and Platt, on the site of the LeRoy Mills. Previous to this the inhabitants were compelled to go to the Genesee River for their milling. Solomon BUNNELL, from Grand Isle, in Lake Champlain, was the millwright, and James AUSTIN the first miller. Doctor William COE was the first physician, in 1803; Dr. FITCH came in 1808.

Dr. William SHELDON came from Bennington Co., Vt., in 1810. He informed the writer that he came on horseback with his saddlebags and a small quantity of medicine, a lancet and an instrument for extracting teeth. He was seeking an eligible site to locate for the practice of his profession. His money was nearly exhausted when he arrived at "Ganson's," where he put up, turned his horse out to grass, made a supper of bread and milk and retired not knowing how he was to raise the money to pay his bill in the morning. Fortunately for him, Mrs. GANSON had an attack of colic in the night, and as there was no other physician in the place, Dr. Sheldon was called on to prescribe. A dose of calomel and jalap restored the good lady so that she resumed her duties in the morning. The professional call of course paid his bill and served as an introduction, and he was invited to settle as there was a great deal of sickness and no physician in the place. He accepted the invitation and for many years enjoyed an extensive practice. During the war of 1812-15, he was the captain of a military company and served his country during the greater part of the war. He participated in seven battles, was taken prisoner at Black Rock, and carried to Montreal, where he remained until he was discharged in Mary, 1814. He was afterwards Sheriff of the County and filled other positions of responsibility. He is now hale and hearty and though over eighty years old, looks as though he was good for another score of years. He receives a pension of $20 per month for services rendered to his country.

Uni HURLBURT, one of the oldest residents of the village, came here in 1819 and engaged in farming and brickmaking, which he continued for forty-nine years. He made the brick for the first buildings in the village constructed of that material, some of which are still standing, among them the Methodist church, Eagle Hotel and other public and private buildings. He is now in the 84th year of his age.

In 1801 a log school house was erected opposite the present residence of Dr. SHELDON, the school was taught by Miss Luseba SCOTT. In 1802 Phebe BATES taught the school, and in 1803 Mrs. Stephen WOLCOTT. In 1804 Mrs. Wolcott taught the first school in the village. The first framed school house in the town was erected a little east of the log one in 1804. It was erected by a stock company; the shares were four dollars each. The largest purchaser took four shares and the smallest half a share. The number of stock holders was thirty. The bachelors manifested their interest in the education of the rising generation, by taking one share each. The first teacher to occupy this building was _______ POMEROY, from Albany. The first school house in the village was erected in 1810. A singing school was taught in 1808 and the first tune learned was Concord. The first military training west of the Genesee River, was at GANSON's in 1801. J. HEWITT was captain; Daniel DAVIS, Lieutenant, and J. GANSON, Ensign; there were ten privates. Phineas P. BATES carried the mail from Canandaigua to Fort Niagara in 1800. A few copies of the Ontario Gazette and Genesee Advertiser were left at LeRoy, but the mail was not very extensive.

Among the early settlers not already mentioned were E. SMITH, J. BLODGETT, J. HASKELL, R. NESBIT, Jacob McCOLLUM, David SCOTT, Philo PIERSON, Gideon FORDHAM and Alexander McPHERSON. Thomas TUFTS, agent of the Cragie Tract, came in 1810. The first store was kept by George A. TIFFANY in 1806, though previous to this Mr. STODDARD used to keep a few goods in his Land Office. J. ANNIN and H. JOHNSON were early merchants. Levi FORDHAM erected the first clothing works in 1811. The first death was that of an immigrant, at the house of Captain CURTIS; S. B. WALLY was the first settler who died. They were both buried in the same lot, on Mr. Curtis' farm.

The first Town Meeting was held in 1813. Thomas TUFTS was chosen Town Clerk, and Dr. Wm. SHELDON, Supervisor. The other town officers were David LE BARRON, Philo PIERSON, Benj. GANSON, Asa BUELL, Salmon TURRELL, David BIDDLECUM, Harvey PRINDLE, R. WAITE, L. FOWLER, G. NEWELL, G. TERRY, A. HASCALL, J. HASCALL.

The first religious services were held in barns and school houses. In the summer of 1800 Rev. David PERRY, a missionary from Massachusetts, visited the town and preached. Hotchkin in his History says: "He probably preached the first sermon ever delivered in the place. The settlement at that time consisted of about sixteen or eighteen families, and was the most western settlement in the State of New York." In 1802 Rev. Davenport PHELPS, of the Episcopal Church, held services in the village. The place was visited by missionaries occasionally, previous to 1812, when a Congregational Church was organized and soon after became connected with the Presbytery. Rev. David FULLER was the first resident clergyman. The present church edifice was erected in 1825. As early as 1807, Rev. Cyrus STORY, a local preacher of the M. E. Church, visited the town and preached. The writer has not been able to give the date of the formation of the first class, but the town was visited by itinerants for several years previous to the organization of a Church. The church edifice was erected in 1828. In 1806 Elder PECK, of the Baptist Church, preached in LeRoy, and the Rev. Donald MANN often preached, walking from his farm in Caledonia and returning the same day, making twenty-two miles travel.

The Baptist Church was organized in 1819, and united with the Association in October, 1820, having at that time a membership of 43. The first delegates to the Association were Elder E. M. SPENCER, Deacon H. CHAMBERLAIN and T. DRAKE. Deacon Chamberlain served the church for fifteen years, when he resigned his office. He died in 1848 at the age of 83 years. His wife was the first member of the Church baptized in LeRoy. The present house of worship was commenced in 1823 and completed in 1834. It was subsequently removed from the eastern extremity of the village to its present location. In 1829 Elder N. WILLEY became the pastor. May 2d, 1840, the Church passed a resolution of dis-fellowship for those who use or traffic in intoxicating liquors as a beverage. The parsonage was erected about the year 1854, at a cost of $1,800. The whole number baptized during the last thirty-one years is 335; the present number of members is 250. W. F. BASTEN is the present pastor.

St. Mark's Church (Epis.) was organized in 1817 by Rev. Samuel JOHNSON. Timothy HATCH and Hugh MURPHY were the wardens; Abel NOYES, Solomon ROOT, George A. TIFFANY, Ezra PLATT, Thaddeus STANLEY, Elisha STANLEY, Manly COLTON and Graham NEWELL, vestrymen. The present officers are Elisha STANLEY, who has been a warden over 40 years, and Albert HILL, junior warden; F. C. LATHROP, M. F. BIXBY, A. F. BARTOW, A. O. COMSTOCK, C.
F. BISSELL, Wm. LAMPSON, W. D. OLMSTEAD
and J. W. SHEDD, vestrymen; E. H. MARTIN, clerk. The church was commenced in 1826 and completed the next year. Rev. Seth W. BEARDSLEY was the first rector to occupy it. During the three years of his ministry thirty were baptized and twenty confirmed. Herman LEROY donated the site of the church and $1,000 towards its erection, and Jacob LEROY gave $1,500, to be invested for the benefit of the rector. On the 24th of April, 1869, the corner stone of a new stone church was laid with appropriate ceemonies by the Right Rev. A. CLEVELAND, D.D., Bishop of the Diocese of Western New York. The church is of stone and under contract to be finished November 1st, at a cost of $25,000. Rev. J. H. WATERBURY is the present rector.

The Universalist Society of LeRoy was organized in July, 1859, under the ministry of Rev. C. CRAVENS. Services were held in Starr Hall at first, and measures were immediately taken to erect a church edifice, which was completed and dedicated in April, 1860. The dedicatory sermon was preached by the pastor, Rev. C. Cravens. The house is a substantial brick structure, 44 by 60 feet, and contains 60 pews. The original cost of lot and edifice was $5,000, valued at present at $12,000. In the summer of 1861 Rev. F. E. HICKS was called to the pastoral charge of the Society. In 1863 Rev. C. Cravens again became the pastor and continued until the spring of 1867, when Rev. C. H. DUTTON, the present pastor, accepted the position.

Mr. R. M. STODDARD's first residence at LeRoy, was a log house on the banks of the creek. During the first winter he was engaged in tending the saw mill one night, when a party of intoxicated Indians came into the kitchen, built a fire and commenced making a pow-wow, as if they were masters of the premises. Mrs. Stoddard was abed in another room, and on learning the state of affairs, put a little girl out of the window and sent her to the mill to notify Mr. Stoddard. The Indians attacked him as he came into the house and a severe fight ensued, but Mr. S. came off victorious, expelling the savages from his dwelling. The Indians had several camps in the vicinity of Leroy, where they were accustomed to resort for hunting. They were generally peaceable, and had great respect for Mr. S., who was often consulted by them. It is related that on one occasion when Mr. Stoddard's whole family were sick with a prevailing influenza, a party of Indians and Squaws came to his house and gave them an "Indian sweat," which greatly mitigated the disease. They dug holes in the earth, put in hot stones and then poured water on them, placing the patients under the influence of the hot steam, covering them with blankets and giving them hot drinks.

The population of the town in 1865 was 4,304, and its area 26,900 acres.

The town contains thirteen school districts, employing the same number of teachers. The number of the school population is 1,371; the number attending school, 769; the average attendance, 346, and the amount expended for school purposes during the year ending September 30, 1868, was $8,411.06.

 

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